There is much evidence that the problematic aspect of having herpes simplex for many people is psychosocial rather than physical or medical, and results from a fracturing of self-perceptions and social lives. The person troubled by HSV symptom recurrences has to deal not only with their own but also with others' feelings and thoughts about the condition. This would be the case with any chronic condition, but where a condition is stigmatised and transmissible, it poses additional problems of adaptation for the individual in terms of preserving a sense of an acceptable self. Learning to live with symptoms of HSV infection in the genital area entails negotiation of acceptance in certain social, particularly sexual, contexts, and the management of risk - the risk of rejection and the risk of transmission (Swanson and Chenitz 1993). This chapter will examine the social implications of life with recurrent genital symptoms, focusing on understandings of stigma, perceptions of handicap in personal relations, meeting others living with herpes simplex in groups and the negotiation of sexual relationships.