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How to Prevent Genital Herpes or HSV-2? Do Condoms help?

The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including genital herpes, is to abstain from sexual contact, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected.

Genital ulcer diseases can occur in both male and female genital areas that are covered or protected by a latex condom, as well as in areas that are not covered. Correct and consistent use of latex condoms can reduce the risk of genital herpes.

The consistent and correct use of latex condoms is the best protection. However, condoms do not provide complete protection, because a herpes lesion may not be covered by the condom and viral shedding may occur. If you or your partner has genital herpes, it is best to abstain from sex when symptoms are present, and to use latex condoms between outbreaks.

Herpes can be spread from one part of the body to another during an outbreak. It is also possible to spread the herpes virus infection even if you are not having an outbreak, so no prevention method is 100% effective. Still, certain preventive techniques can reduce your chances of spreading the infection to others.

  1. Do not to touch the eyes or mouth after touching the blisters or ulcers.
  2. Thorough hand washing is a must during outbreaks.
  3. Clothing that comes in contact with ulcers should not be shared with others.
  4. Couples that want to minimize the risk of transmission should always use condoms if a partner is infected. Unfortunately, even when an infected partner isn't currently having an outbreak, herpes can be spread.
  5. Couples may also want to consider avoiding all sexual contact, including kissing, during an outbreak of herpes. It is important to avoid sexual contact from the time the initial symptoms begin (if present) until the scabs have disappeared.
  6. Since an active genital herpes outbreak (with blisters) during labor and delivery can be harmful to the infant, pregnant women who suspect that they have genital herpes should tell their doctor. Women who have herpes and are pregnant can have a vaginal delivery as long as they are not experiencing symptoms or actually having an outbreak while in labor.

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