Whilst there are a number of STD and infections we should be wary of, unfortunately some are more common and are therefore more contagious than others. Genital herpes is one of these conditions. Whilst genital herpes is not thought to be life threatening, it can be a very painful condition, and not to mention an embarrassing condition at that. It takes a lot of courage for somebody to admit they have genital herpes, yet unfortunately sometimes the symptoms are so obvious that there is no hiding it. Genital herpes can cause unsightly sores and blisters, not just around the genitals, but on other parts of the body as well, and these can get very itchy and very painful. The good news is that, although genital herpes is very contagious, there are things you can do to protect yourself against the condition. These include:
Wear a condom during intercourse – As mentioned, the herpes virus is incredibly contagious, and having unprotected sex with somebody who may be infected is a guaranteed way of risking infection yourself. Providing the condom covers the area which is infected then the latex should do enough to help provide protection against the condition. Wearing a condom during oral sex is also a good idea in these instances.
Get yourself and your partner tested – The frustrating thing about herpes is the fact that the virus itself can lay dormant in a person’s body for ten years, even longer in some cases, so people will have no idea they are infected. During this period it can decide to rear its ugly head at any time and so, without warning, a herpes breakout could flare up. The best way to know for sure if you are at risk is to see a specialist and get yourself, and ideally your partner, tested for the condition. Making a diagnosis is very simple, and will help put your mind at ease once and for all.
Don’t risk sex with somebody with obvious signs of herpes – Herpes can be fairly easy to spot as the sores and blisters are very noticeable. If you are getting caught up in the heat of the moment and notice that your potential sexual partner has sores and/or blisters on or around their genitals, you should stop things in their tracks. Otherwise you will almost certainly contract the condition yourself.
Never receive oral sex from an individual with a cold sore – If you notice that your sexual partner has a cold sore on their face, you should never receive oral sex from them. Cold sores on the face could be a sign of oral herpes, and they are just as contagious and can be passed from the mouth, to the genitals, subsequently resulting in oral herpes.
Ask your sexual partner about their history of STDs – Though it may be a little embarrassing, another way of potentially preventing a genital herpes outbreak is to ask your sexual partner about their sexual history, and potential STDs. Ask them if they’ve ever had herpes, or a herpes scare, and if so, you may wish to exercise caution.