Herpes Viruses Association

Herpes Viruses Association

Information and advice on herpes simplex, especially genital herpes, from the UK charity formed by patients themselves. Helpline number, membership details. Also shingles information pack: how to stop the pain that can continue afterwards.


How the HVA got started

In 1981, people with herpes simplex got together to share information and to help each other as a response to the many scary stories about herpes simplex in the press. The Herpes Viruses Association was registered as charity 291657 in 1985. An office was set up in the Omnibus Centre and we now employ two staff. About ten volunteers help us by hosting meetings, answering the helpline or assisting in the office. Over the years, we have dealt with over 100,000 enquiries from patients and health professionals.

The Herpes Viruses Association helps to improve life for people with herpes simplex by:

  • helping them to understand the condition and put it into its proper perspective as a common skin complaint;
  • publishing a quarterly journal SPHERE which covers everything from research news to articles on stress management and our social events. See list of back articles here;
  • running trials to ascertain the effectiveness of complementary treatments;
  • publishing the results from our questionnaires about the experience of living with herpes simplex;
  • supporting and encouraging local groups and meetings;
  • training and supporting the volunteer helpliners.

There are eight human herpes viruses. Also, every animal species that has been investigated has its own herpes virus: cat, carp, elephant, horse… What these viruses all have in common is the ability to hide in the body without causing symptoms, and then reappear later. They are also generally ‘self-limiting’ which means they get better without treatment. The human herpes virus family includes:

  1. Herpes simplex virus type 1 (cold sores and whitlows on fingers and hands, also half new cases of genital herpes)
  2. Herpes simplex virus type 2 (genital sores, also sometimes cold sores and whitlows)The other viruses cause quite different illnesses. These are:

Contact Herpes Viruses Association

Info@herpes.org.uk can only give you short answers to any questions you have; or phone our helpline on 0845 123 2305 and be ready to take down the times given; or write to us at HVA, 41 North Road, London N7 9DP. Membership offers a wide range of information.

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