Ways to Protect Yourself & Your Partner
Genital herpes does not mean giving up sex or enjoying sex less. If you take the necessary precautions the chance of transmitting the virus to your partner is small.
These simple steps can dramatically reduce the chance of spreading genital herpes:
1) Tell your partner – work together to avoid spreading the virus
If you have been diagnosed with genital herpes it is really important to let your partner know before putting them at any risk, no matter how small. If both you and your partner understand what herpes is and how it can be prevented you will dramatically reduce your chance of spreading the virus.
2) Avoid contact with the affected area when you notice symptoms
Herpes is most easily spread when there is a blister or sore, but the virus can also be spread at other times too. It is most likely to be spread from the time the first symptoms are noticed, such as itching and tingling, until the area is completely healed and the skin looks normal again.
It is important to avoid any contact with the infected area during this high risk time. This includes oral sex, intercourse or rubbing against the area.
3) Use latex condoms
The risk of transmitting the herpes virus can often be reduced, sometimes by half, by using condoms. Condoms, and other barrier protection methods, can be helpful between outbreaks to protect against asymptomatic shedding (when herpes can spread without symptoms).
Condoms are not a 100% guarantee that the virus won’t spread. This is because the condom may not cover all areas where the infection is present. It is however still one of the most effective precautions that you can take. After being in a relationship for a period of time, and once the issue of herpes is viewed in perspective, you and your partner may decide that the use of condoms is no longer relevant if herpes is the only reason to use them.
4. Use a treatment to help reduce the symptoms
This might include taking an antiviral medication prescribed by your Doctor, such as Valtrex or Famvir, taking a natural approach such as supplements, or perhaps both.
5) Eat well and make healthy choices, where possible
If a person takes good care of their body this can help combat the herpes virus and it may help to reduce the risk of passing the virus onto their partner.
If a person wants to control herpes outbreaks it can be beneficial to:
- Eat mostly healthy and nutritious foods
- Exercise several times per week, including walking, running or cycling
- Avoid foods excessively high in Arginine (particularly protein shakes)
- Drink filtered water
- Avoid or reduce toxins like alcohol, cigarettes and food additives
- Address or remedy any other health conditions or complaints, like menstrual pain or stress