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My Dad, bless 'I'm in the Seventies', thought to name his new company, HSV. Powerful letters he said. We mean business. Well 6 months later it dawned on him that it was the acronym for Herpes Simplex Virus. Poor sod, had to change everything.

This was THE virus of the early Eighties. Spreading fear around the world and stopping young lovers from engaging in naughtiness. But then HIV arrived soon after, and poor old herpes was relegated to the second division of sexual illnesses, somewhere between thrush and a love bite.

But good news at last! We seem to be winning our fight against the dreaded AIDS slowly but surely, so welcome back herpes, into our thoughts and paranoia. And of course our lips and love organs.

I am often asked if it's possible to catch herpes from someone's regulator. Likewise, should you dive if you have open sores on your lips or nether bits.

It's a mixed answer really. Down below... yes it is OK. The salt water may even do it good.
London School Of Diving
But a bad sore on the lips can be a problem if it is exposed to cold water for long periods of time. It will hurt more but there's no evidence that it will worsen.

As for contagion, you would be mighty unlucky to get it from a set of rented regs, but there is a chance if you try hard enough. Next time you're at the dive show, find someone with the disease. Ask them kindly to test a reg you are thinking of buying. Promptly test it yourself. Bingo, you are now a carrier of this embarrassing viral illness.

This is easiest done with oral herpes, but can be done with genital herpes too as long as the guy on the regulator stand doesn't catch you putting the mouthpiece down your trousers.

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