Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Can Genital Herpes be Avoided?

Many kinds of diseases, especially sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like genital herpes, can be avoided if a person is conscientious enough in practicing health habits. For genital herpes, the adage “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure” is appropriate. In fact, there is no vaccine against genital herpes.

Abstinence is definitely the most effective way of avoiding genital herpes and any other STDs. Having no sexual contact with anyone assures you that you will never be exposed to genital herpes.

However, abstinence can never be the choice of many people. And so, the next best thing is fidelity. It means that you must maintain a strictly monogamous relationship with a partner who has no genital herpes. This must be a two-way street. That is, you don’t have multiple sex partners, and your partner doesn’t maintain other sex partners. Having several sexual adventures may turn out to be nightmares in the end.

Unfortunately, finding one true love could be a trial and error process for some people. And so, to avoid genital herpes, the third best thing is being responsible. That is, you must practice safe sex.

Before starting a sexual relationship with a new partner, talk about STDs. It is probably not the most scintillating and romantic topic you could think of, but it is a vital one. Find out if your potential sex partner may have been exposed to the HSV virus. Having blisters and sores in the genital area and in the lips and mouth are hazardous signs. But you must also remember the fact that a person infected with HSV or any STD may never show any symptom. Thus, find out about your potential partner’s lifestyle, health history and sex history. If you are the 100th partner, think twice before consulting to a more intimate relationship. Prowess acquired due to experience may not always be a good thing.

Safe sex also means the use of condoms. Condoms, even if used properly, do not entirely prevent the transmission of genital herpes. But they do reduce the risk of acquiring STDs. Sometimes, the sores of genital herpes spread to the anus, the buttocks, and the thighs. These areas could not be covered by condoms. If your sex partner has genital herpes and the sores are limited to a small area, then either male or female condoms can be used. But let us reiterate that condoms do not offer 100% protection.

If pregnant, do everything in your power to avoid HSV infection, so that you do not endanger the health and life of your newborn.

If you are already infected with genital herpes, then have mercy and give others the chance to avoid your disease: avoid any sexual contact.