- There is no "safe" sex.
- Condoms do not necessarily prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
- Genital herpes is a viral infection that can cause painful genital sores and causes recurrent outbreaks.
- Many people are infected with herpes virus and are now aware of the infection.
- The herpes virus is spread by direct person-to-person contact.
- An infected person may transmit the virus to others even if no symptoms are present.
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.
There is no treatment that can cure herpes, but antiviral medications can shorten and prevent outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication. In addition, daily suppressive therapy for symptomatic herpes can reduce transmission to partners.
HSV-1 and HSV-2 are transmitted through direct contact, including kissing, sexual contact (vaginal, oral, or anal sex), or skin-to-skin contact.
Results of a nationally representative study show that genital herpes infection is common in the United States. Nationwide, 45 million people ages 12 and older, or one out of five of the total adolescent and adult population, is infected with HSV-2. Roughly 16.2%, or about one out of six, people 14 to 49 years of age have genital HSV-2 infection. Over the past decade, the percentage of Americans with genital herpes infection in the U.S. has remained stable.