Genital herpes has been shown to have a profound psychological impact upon sufferers. Although it is episodic, the negative public perception of the condition and uncertainty about the timing of outbreaks means that patients are continually under emotional stress. Despite this, no herpes-specific measure is available for assessing quality of life. This paper describes the theoretical basis for, and the initial stages in the development of, a measure designed to assess quality of life in individuals with genital herpes. Versions of the measure are required for six European countries and the United States and work has taken place simultaneously in these countries. The content of the measure is derived from interviews with a cross-section of patients in the United Kingdom. The measure was found to be culturally equivalent in each country and to have face and content validity, with respondents finding it relevant and easy to complete.