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Genital Herpes: Sex & Genital Herpes

Genital Herpes & Sex

Unless you and your partner are totally free of herpes and until you change your partner, you need not worry about herpes. If both the partners are infected with same kind of virus, they need take no precaution during sex. You need to take care about sex and herpes if

  • Only one partner has herpes.
  • You are not sure about your partner's status (whether they have herpes or not).
  • You change your partners frequently.
  • You or your partner gets involved with more than one person.

In such circumstances you need to take care. Let us discuss.
The first question that arises in your mind when you are diagnosed with herpes is this- Is my sex life over?

The answer is an emphatic no. The only difference is that you need to avoid sex during active outbreaks. Take care of the following, if you or your partner have herpes and are involved sexually:

  • Avoid any sexual contact when one of the partners is having active outbreaks.
  • Avoid any sexual contact when one of the partners is in the prodrome phase.
  • Use latex condom every time irrespective of outbreak.
  • Don't have oral sex if one of you has cold sores.
  • Beware of asymptomatic shedding of virus (when the skin sheds virus without showing any outbreak). Please discuss this with your doctor. Recent studies have shown that suppressive therapy can substantially reduce asymptomatic shedding.
  • Avoid excess sexual friction if that is a trigger for either of you. Use a water-based lubricant. Oil-based lubricant can react with latex condom and break it down.
  • Spermicidals such as Nonoxynol-9 can cause irritation in your genitals and may make it easier for the virus to enter your body. Avoid using spermicidal gels formulated with Nonoxynol-9.

Article updated on: May 26, 2008

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