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Talking to Your Doctor About Genital Herpes
General Tips for Gathering Information
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don’t forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification if necessary.
- Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- What causes genital herpes?
- How did I get infected?
- What are the symptoms of a genital herpes outbreak?
- Typically, how long will the outbreaks last?
- What type of herpes simplex virus am I infected with?
- How common is genital herpes?
- How is genital herpes different than cold sores ?
- Are there any serious complications of genital herpes that I should be aware of?
- Based on my medical history, lifestyle, and family background, am I at risk for genital herpes?
- How can I decrease my risk of contracting genital herpes?
- How do I know if my partner has genital herpes? What physical signs or symptoms should I be looking for?
- What type of medicine should I take to reduce the symptoms?
What medicine can I take to prevent outbreaks from occurring?
- What are the benefits, side effects, and risks of the medicines?
- Will these medicines interact with other medicines, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements I am already taking for other conditions?
- How often is medicine taken?
- Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that will help me?
Are you aware of any ongoing research about genital herpes?
- Is there any progress in research to find a cure or to prevent genital herpes entirely?
- How can I stay aware of the news about what is happening in genital herpes research?
- Where can I find a support group about genital herpes?
- Do you recommend any additional counseling?
- Is there anything else I can do to minimize any discomfort I may experience?
- How do I tell my partner that I have genital herpes?
- Do I have to tell my family about genital herpes?
- How can I protect my partner?
- Should my partner come in for a test and treatment?
- Can I still have sex?
- How will having genital herpes affect my relationship with my partner?
- Are there any dietary changes I should make?
- Will exercise affect genital herpes?
- How often will I have an outbreak?
- How can I become pregnant if I have genital herpes? How can I get my partner pregnant if I have genital herpes?
- Can I take medicine if I am pregnant? How can I protect my baby?
- Where can I get more information about genital herpes?
Genital herpes—CDC fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes.htm . Updated February 11, 2013. Accessed February 25, 2013.
Drake S, Taylor S, Brown D, Pillay D. Improving the care of patients with genital herpes. BMJ . 2000;321:619-623.
Herpes: Questions to ask your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/herpes/questions-to-ask-your-doctor.html . Updated December 2010. Accessed February 26, 2013.
Talking to your HCP: 10 questions to ask. American Sexual Health Association website. Available at: http://www.ashastd.org/sexual%5Fhealth/10-questions-to-ask-your-healthcare-provider.html . Accessed February 26, 2013.
Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/healthcare-management/working-with-your-doctor/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor.html . Updated November 2010. Accessed February 26, 2013.
- Reviewer: David Horn, MD
- Review Date: 05/2014
- Update Date: 05/07/2014