This paper describes the international development and psychometric testing of the Recurrent Genital Herpes Quality of Life Questionnaire (RGHQoL), a condition-specific quality of life (QoL) instrument. The theoretical foundation for the measure is the needs-based model of QoL and the content of the instrument was derived from in-depth qualitative interviews with relevant patients in the UK. Versions of the RGHQoL were required for the UK, USA, Italy, Germany, France and Denmark for use in international clinical trials. The results indicate that the final 20 item measure has good reliability, internal consistency and validity for all language versions. A small responsiveness study in Denmark suggested that the measure is sensitive to changes in QoL associated with the initiation of suppression treatment for recurrent genital herpes (RGH). It is concluded that the RGHQoL is a valuable instrument for inclusion in clinical trials. The psychometric properties of the instrument are such that it may also be used to monitor the progress of individual patients.