SAFE SEX AND HERPES
**This information can be found at
"The Complete Herpes Information Center"
The cold sore/herpes virus is extremely contagious and is generally spread by skin-to-skin contact. There is a risk of the virus spreading when the first signs of tingling or itching begin (prodome), as well as when no sores or blisters are visible.
Some couples have reported no transmission of the virus even though they have been in a sexual relationship for many years. This is put down to restraint during outbreaks or very particular avoidance of the blisters during sex.
If you care about your partner and want to have an intimate relationship with her or him, herpes does not have to stand in the way. Couples deal successfully with herpes all the time. In most cases, it is only a minor inconvenience.
Herpes often brings about some changes in a couple's sex life, such as abstaining from sex during outbreaks. For most people with herpes, this occurs only a few times a year. Ask your partner how often he or she has outbreaks so you'll have some idea of what to expect.
Between outbreaks, you may wish to use condoms to reduce the risk of infection.
Condoms offer the best protection against other STDs and STIs as well, which is important in a new relationship. Since herpes does not pose a serious health risk, some couples choose not to use condoms in a long-term relationship.
Condoms should definitely be used if engaging in causal sex but they are not always 100% protection. Also, new wool condoms have a woven texture through which this incredibly small virus can migrate.
Facts about using condoms to prevent herpes transmission
Herpes and your relationship
Safer Sex Practices
Facts about using condoms to prevent herpes transmission:
The herpes virus does not pass through latex condoms
When properly used latex condoms are likely to reduce your risk of spreading or getting herpes, however even the best condoms do not guarantee total safety.
When herpes sores occur in places not covered by a condom the condom is of little help, if any.
Condoms and foams should not be relied upon when herpes sores or symptoms are present.
Condoms do not provide 100 percent protection because a lesion may be found which the condom did not cover. Used consistently, however, condoms are one of the best available forms of prevention.
Herpes and your relationship:
You and your partner will need to have open, honest communication about herpes so you can work together to prevent transmission. Your partner will need to feel comfortable telling you when he or she feels an outbreak coming on. Your relationship may benefit as you talk and establish trust.
On the other hand, if you aren't sure about the relationship, or you are uncomfortable with the risk, consider delaying intimacy for a while. Get to know your partner better, and give yourself time to adjust to the idea of herpes. There is no need to rush into a decision.
Keep in mind that all relationships face challenges, many far tougher than herpes. Good relationships stand or fall on far more important issues -- including communication, respect, and trust.
Safer Sex Practices:
Practice non-coital sex (sexual intimacy without penetration). Use your imagination, there are all kinds of ways to have fun! Use barriers, male and/or female condoms (dental dams).
Chemoprophylaxis - use a lubricant with nonoxynol, proven to have some virucidal activity. Some people may be sensitive, causing them inflammation, rash or sores. In such cases it might increase likelihood of transmission - so definitely do not use in this case!
Use a lubricant. This will decrease friction and make the viral particles less likely to adhere to new locations.
Particularly in the cases of male to female, or male to male sex, arrange for external ejaculation. Keep a small towel handy at the appropriate moment. Wash thoroughly afterwards (not the next morning), soap and water will remove the virus at the skin's surface, washing with hydrogen peroxide or diluted chlorine bleach should also knock-out the virus.
Consume antivirals, suppressives and/or supplements and herbs. The availability of antigen specific transfer factor and other immuno-helpers like beta glucan ushers in a new age of prevention. Keep body fluids away from compromised skin; cuts, abrasions, conditions that would allow the virus to enter. Some people can have the virus express itself in other than the standard locations.
Be very mindful and serious about prevention. Practice safer sex methods without exceptions - slipping up on your protocols just once can mess you up for life.
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