Popular Herpes questions

Can I still have sexual intercourse as a carrier of herpes?

Popular Herpes questions

If you are a carrier of herpes, you should talk to your sexual partner(s) and inform him or her about this and the risks involved. Condom use can help reduce this risk, but it will not eliminate the risk completely. The presence of ulcers or other symptoms of herpes may increase the risk of the disease spreading. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you can still infect your sexual partners. You may have doubts about how this will affect their general health, sex life and relationships. The best thing for you to do is to talk about it with your doctor, but it is also important to realize that although herpes cannot be cured, the disease can be controlled with medication. Daily suppressive therapy (ie, the daily use of antiviral drugs) for herpes can also reduce the risk of genital herpes spreading to your sexual partner. Be sure to discuss your treatment options with your healthcare provider. Since a diagnosis of genital herpes may affect your attitude toward your current or future sexual relationship, it is important to understand how to talk to your sexual partners about STIs.

What is the relationship between genital herpes and HIV?

Popular Herpes questions

A herpes infection can lead to ulcers, or damage to the skin or mucous membranes of the mouth, vagina and rectum. This increases the risk of HIV entering the body. Even without visible ulcers, the presence of genital herpes increases the number of CD4 cells (cells that HIV uses to penetrate the body) found in the mucous membrane of the genital organs. When a person is infected with both HIV and genital herpes, it is more likely that HIV will spread to an HIV-infected uninfected sexual partner during sexual intercourse with their partner, vagina or rectum.

How can I reduce the risk of contracting genital herpes?

The only way to avoid STIs is not to have vaginal, anal or oral sex.

If you are sexually active, then to reduce the risk of genital herpes infection:

  • Maintain a long-term mutual monogamous relationship with a partner who is not infected with an STI (i.e., one who has been tested and has a negative STI test result);
  • use latex condoms correctly each time you have sex.

Keep in mind that not all herpes ulcers occur in areas covered by a latex condom. In addition, the herpes virus can be excreted (released) from skin areas where there is no visible herpes ulcer. For these reasons, condoms can not fully protect you from infection with herpes. If you are in a relationship with a person who has genital herpes, you can reduce the risk of contracting this disease if you are in a relationship with someone who has genital herpes:

  • Your partner takes herpes medication every day. This is something your partner should discuss with his doctor.
  • You avoid vaginal, anal or oral sex when your partner has herpes symptoms (i.e. when your partner has an outbreak).

How often does genital herpes occur?

Genital herpes is a common occurrence in the United States. More than one in six people between the ages of 14 and 49 are carriers of genital herpes.

What is oral herpes?

Mouth herpes is usually caused by HSV-1 and can cause a cold or herpes fever in or around the mouth. However, most people have no symptoms. Most people with oral herpes were infected as children or young people from non-sexual contact with saliva.