Genital Herpes Lifestyle

lifestyleGenital Herpes: Lifestyle

Most people diagnosed with a first episode of genital herpes can expect to have four to five outbreaks (called symptomatic recurrences) within a year. Over time these recurrences usually decrease in frequency. There is no cure for this recurrent (returning) infection, which may cause embarrassment and emotional distress.

Having genital herpes does not preclude an individual from having a normal relationship. If the individual or their partner is infected with HSV type 2, steps can be taken to manage the transmission of the virus.

Measures for preventing genital herpes are the same as those for preventing other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). HSV-2 is highly contagious while lesions are present.

Prevention/Transmission

The best way to prevent infection is to abstain from sexual activity or to limit sexual contact to only one person who is infection-free.
Individuals should use, or have their partner use, a latex condom during each sexual contact, limit the number of sex partners, avoid any contact with a partner who has sores until the sores are completely healed, or use a male or female condom during anal, oral, or vaginal sex (however, transmission can still occur if the condom does not cover the sores), avoid having sex just before or during an outbreak since the risk for transmission is highest at that time, and ask the sexual partner if they have ever had a herpes outbreak or been exposed to the herpes virus.

Occasionally, oral-genital contact can spread oral herpes to the genitals (and vice versa). Individuals with active herpes lesions on or around their mouths or on their genitals should only engage in oral sex if they use a condom or place a small piece of latex, called a dental dam, over the vagina or anus.

Managing Outbreaks

The virus becomes reactivated secondary to certain stimuli, including fever, physical, or emotional stress, ultraviolet light exposure (sunlight or tanning beds), and nerve injury.
Read more about Managing Outbreaks


Selected References
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