Lee Duffield

Edited by Lee Duffield
Freedom and Truth

Herpes not included in regular STI test

Doctors do not  include herpes in regular STI tests because nearly 80 per cent of people would test positive, Herpes Support Group operator Jeannie May says.

Ms May says the latest herpes awareness campaign www.thefacts.com.au has hit the nail on the head.

“For the people that don’t know they have herpes it is the first campaign that made people realise this can happen to anyone,” she says.

Dr Asad Khan from the University of Queensland says doctors will not test for herpes unless the patient shows symptoms, even though they could have the virus unknowingly.

Infection rate

Dr Khan said the statistic given on the website possibly underestimates the actual number of people infected with herpes.

“With clinical data, these are all confirmed cases where someone has gone to their GP showing symptoms and been confirmed, but around 80 per cent of people don’t know they have herpes because they are asymptomatic,” he says.

“If people knew how high the percentage is for asymptomatic herpes cases more people would get tested.”

Dr Ka-Kiu Cheung from the Reydon Street Medical Centre says people do not get told these things at school.

“People don’t realise that it can lay dormant in your system coming out when you get unwell and then people think their partner has been unfaithful,” she says.

“The biggest problem is that people in a relationship think their partner has been unfaithful because they suddenly get an outbreak.”

Ms May says more money and educating is done on Chlamydia than for herpes.

“But I don’t think they understand the emotional impact – there are people who consider suicide because they can’t deal with it,” Ms May says.

Dr Khan says herpes will not cause infertility but the social and personal consequences can be a big problem.

Education key

Ms May and Dr Khan both agree education about the herpes viruses HSV1 and HSV2 are key for reducing the number of cases and the embarrassment for sufferers.

For more  information and support call the Herpes Support Line on 0414 074 874.