Reducing Herpes Risk

Reducing Herpes Risk: How to Reduce Your Risk of Spreading or Getting Genital Herpes

There are a  number of things that we can do to reduce the risk of spreading herpes to our partners, or to reduce our risk of getting herpes from someone else.  By using these practices, many people have been successful in NOT  spreading herpes to their partner(s). Many people who have herpes have NEVER  spread it to a partner. However, there are no guarantees. Everyone has a  different situation. And your PARTNER’S health and immune system is also a  factor. But if you use some or all of these practices, your risk of transmitting  the virus to your partner(s) might be much much lower.

1) Make sure that both you and your partner(s)  have *actually* been tested for herpes. MOST people with genital herpes have few  or no noticeable symptoms. And believe it or not, MOST doctors do NOT include a test for herpes when they are testing their patients for other common STDs.  So 90% of the people who have genital herpes DON’T EVEN KNOW IT!  Reducing the risk of transmission of herpes and other  STD’s requires that both partners KNOW their status for herpes and other STD’s  PRIOR to becoming intimately involved.  Unless your partner has taken one of the newer, very reliable type-specific herpes blood  tests at least 12-16 weeks AFTER their last intimate encounter, there is  always the chance that they might have acquired the herpes virus prior to  sleeping with you.  This goes for other STDs as well. So if you have intimate  relations prior to your partner being tested, and they later develop symptoms  and test positive for herpes, you will NEVER KNOW if your partner got herpes  from you or if they had it BEFORE you, but just didn’t know it. Remember, 20-25% of  US Adults have genital herpes, but 90% of them DON’T KNOW IT. Asking your  partner(s) to get tested prior to your getting involved may seem awkward, but  unless you and your partner don’t care about spreading STD’s, it’s a very  reasonable thing to ask someone to do. Frankly, now that herpes is so easy to  diagnose via type-specific blood tests,  everyone should be doing this. The medical profession will eventually catch up…but in the meantime, we need to ask our partners to get tested for herpes  and other STD’s as soon as a physical relationship looks likely. Also, if you find out that your partner already has the virus for genital herpes, then you don’t have to worry about giving them an STD that they ALREADY have! Testing is part of the solution. Let’s be pro-active on the herpes testing front.

View or download this list of reliable blood tests for herpes, from the American  Society for Social Heath (ASHA) by clicking here.

If you want to be tested anonymously for Herpes or other STDs, check out services like GetSTDtested.com, and others listed on our page for Herpes Diagnosis.

2) Condoms: These will only help prevent  transmission if the area that they cover is the same as the area where you or  your partner has outbreaks or asymptomatic shedding. In many cases, condoms  do not cover the area where the outbreaks or shedding occurs. Condoms still may  be effective as contraceptives.

3) Suppressive Therapy: In  studies,  Acyclovir and Valtrex (a derivative of Acyclovir/Zovirax) taken daily have been shown to  greatly reduce the risk of transmission to a non-infected partner. In one study, taking Acyclovir daily as suppressive therapy was so effective, that the percent of days that patients were shedding the virus was reduced to less than 1%!  So suppressive therapy along with the regular and proper use of condoms is highly effective in reducing your risk of transmitting herpes to a non-infected partner.  Read about the latest research here –http://depts.washington.edu/herpes/art_treatment.htm
4)  Herbal/natural remedies: In addition to prescription drugs, there are a  number of herbal remedies that claim to have some positive benefits for people  with herpes. Some have proven benefits, while others are bogus, and still others  need more study. It has not been determined whether or not any herbal or natural  supplements have any effect on reducing the risk of HSV2 transmission. Maybe  yes, maybe no. But it would be nice to think maybe yes.
5)  Self-Monitoring: Some people can *tell* that they might be having an HSV2  outbreak – because they feel a tingling or other sensation – even if it never  turns into a sore or any other visible symptom. Many people feel things like  this in advance of a real outbreak. Other people may feel things like this – but  then the outbreak never happens. In any case, if you abstain from intimate  contact – from the moment you start feeling some tingling or any other unusual  sensation – whether or not it turns into an actual outbreak – then you are  likely to significantly reduce your risk of transmission. There are no published  studies about self-monitoring, so you just need to go by common sense.

6) Low-stress Lifestyle: Many believe that stress increases the  occurrence of herpes outbreaks. Stress may also decrease your auto-immune  defenses. So if you and your partner both avoid stress, you should theoretically  lower your risk of having outbreaks and being potentially infectious – as well  as lowering your risk of “catching” this or another virus from other  people.

There are so many things that you can do to help lower the  potential risk of transmitting HSV2 to your partner. Depending on your  particular situation, your risk might be higher – or lower.

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Bottom line – is that you CAN  significantly reduce your risk of transmitting HSV2 to your partner, even when  you are having no outbreaks. If you take all of these precautions, you might, in  fact, be a safer partner than someone who has not been tested recently for STD’s  and is taking no particular precautions.  Just using a condom, for instance,  does not guarantee against the spread of many STD’s, including herpes. Since  most people have  not taken an HSV-2 type specific blood test at least 12-16  weeks after their last sexual partner, they might possibly be carrying  and  spreading the HSV2 virus without their knowledge, and may display no particular  symptoms.

The only difference between US and THEM (the general  population) is that we KNOW what we have and we can do something about it. At  least 20% of THEM are really part of US, but they just don’t know it. Asking our  potential partners to get tested may seem awkward, but just think of the favor  you will be doing for yourself and everyone else – if someone who has it,  finally learns that they have it and can start doing something about it.

For more information, we recommend that you check out our Herpes Links and Information Page.