Wednesday, July 6, 2016

6 Things You Should Know About Genital Herpes

TV shows, movies, and society as a whole create this stigma around herpes when really, there’s not too much to be scared of. Most of the time, genital herpes is a mild skin condition that can be managed very effectively.


  1. It is estimated that 1 out of 6 people have genital herpes. About 90% of them don’t know it.
  2. Herpes (oral & genital) cannot be spread through inanimate objects such as spoons, glasses, razors, towels, bed sheets, etc. Herpes can only be passed through direct skin-to-skin contact with the infected area such as kissing, oral sex, genital-to-genital rubbing, vaginal, and anal sex.
  3. Herpes (both oral & genital) can be spread even when there are no symptoms or sores. This is called asymptomatic shedding. Suppressive antiviral therapy significantly reduces asymptomatic shedding (and outbreaks). Valacyclovir taken daily can reduce risk of transmission to a partner by as much as 50%.
  4. How does one prevent herpes transmission?
    Avoid touching any sores you have. If you do, wash your hands with soap and water. You should avoid sex while you have sores, and use a male or female condom or dental dam with your partner if sex occurs despite intentions to not have sex. Herpes is most contagious during an outbreak, but it’s also possible to spread herpes when no symptoms are present.
    A good diet, enough rest and sleep, and effective stress management may help prevent herpes recurrences. If you have oral herpes, avoid getting sunburned.
    Getting tested for STDs is a basic part of staying healthy and taking care of your body — like brushing your teeth and exercising regularly. Getting tested and knowing your status shows you care about yourself and your partner. STD awareness and testing is a basic part of staying healthy and taking care of your body. It’s important to know your risk and protect your health.
  5. Herpes is a very manageable skin condition and does not cause any damage to internal organs.
  6. People with herpes have very normal romantic and sexual relationships. After diagnosis, you may feel like your life may never be the same again but you will feel better soon. There are countless online herpes dating sites and support groups for you with people who’ve been in your shoes.

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