antenatal screening programme

Genital herpes

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is an infection which causes blisters on the skin. It is caught through skin to skin contact. The infection is most common on the face, in the form of cold sores. It can also appear on the genital or anal areas- passed on through sexual contact. in these instances it is known as genital herpes.

Read more about genital herpes or neonatal herpes on the NHS website.

UK NSC screening recommendation Based on the last UK NSC review of this condition that occurred in October 2018.

Screening is not currently recommended for this condition.

Screening for genital herpes in pregnant women is not recommended. This is because it is not known:

  • how many women in the UK are infected with HSV-1 and HSV-2
  • how accurate screening tests are in pregnant women
  • how effective treatments are to stop women passing on HSV to their baby
  • how effective treatments are to stop pregnant women from catching the disease

Supporting documents from the 2018 review

Evidence summary Genital Herpes (2018)
This document provides the evidence on which the current UK NSC recommendation is based.

UK NSC coversheet & consultation responses Genital Herpes (2018)
This document summarises the review process including the public consultation comments.

Review cycle

Date previous review completed: 2018

Next review estimated to be completed: 2021 to 2022.

To see previous evidence reviews, visit the UK NSC archive.

Organisations interested in Genital herpes

These organisations have expressed interest in this recommendation and may submit responses to evidence reviews.

List of organisations

If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us.