Someone with genital herpes can spread the disease through oral, anal, or vaginal sex. You don’t have to have outward signs of the disease to be contagious. A person without a visible sore or who isn’t aware they’re infected can pass the virus.
Herpes is not spread through such things as bedding, swimming pools, or toilet seats.
The only certain way to avoid genital herpes is to avoid all sexual contact, including oral and anal sex.
For people who are sexually active, reduce your risk of the disease by committing to a mutually monogamous relationship. This means both partners were tested and cleared from carrying STDs, including herpes.
Using latex condoms every time you have sex can also protect you. But herpes sores don’t only occur in areas covered by a condom. The virus can shed from areas of skin that don’t have an obvious sore, so you can still contract the disease if using a condom.
If your partner does have herpes, make sure they take their anti-herpes medication daily and that you avoid vaginal, anal, and oral sex on days when an outbreak is obvious.
The viruses that cause oral and genital herpes can definitely bring about very uncomfortable and inconvenient symptoms but aren’t dangerous infections in most healthy adults.
The concern is if a woman with genital herpes has the virus present in the birth canal during delivery of a baby. The baby may contract neonatal herpes, which is a serious and sometimes fatal condition. Our doctors screen you if you’re pregnant and take precautions to prevent any complications.
Genital herpes can’t be cured, but antiviral medications can help. They reduce the number of outbreaks so you feel symptom-free longer. If you do have an outbreak, the drugs make your experience less severe and shorter.
If you’re concerned about STDs, particularly genital herpes, call Pinky Ronen, MD & Itai Ronen, MD OB/GYNs or schedule an appointment using the online tool.