Genital herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in Australia and a diagnosis of the condition can cause significant emotional distress. Affected patients require both pharmacological and psychological treatment.
About 12% of adults in Australia are infected with herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), making it one of the most common sexually transmissible infections in Australia. However, 75% of adults in Australia harbour type 1 (HSV-1) infection: an unknown proportion of these adults with HSV-1 infection have acquired it sexually and all could potentially sexually transmit the infection to others, particularly through oral sex. It is therefore likely that more than 85% of marriages in Australia include at least one person who harbours the potentially sexually transmissible herpes virus, resulting in genital herpes being common even in ‘low-risk’ populations.