How to Prevent Herpes Transmission

First, know your own body and your characteristic symptoms during outbreaks. Be obsessive about it at first so you won’t have to be later on. Remember, you are building towards adjustment, control and ultimately freedom.

Practice Prevention

Second, practice prevention and develop an automatic set of habits. When you have an outbreak, do anything you like in your own life, or in relation to someone else’s, so long as the infected region is not touched directly. Obviously, the most effective prevention then is abstinence from anything to do with that area. If you have a cold sore don’t kiss anyone, anywhere, even in greeting, and especially don’t kiss babies. Keep cold sores away from babies reach at all times! If you have genital lesions, don’t have intercourse. If you have either genital or oral lesions, do not engage in oral-genital lovemaking. There are many other ways to caress, fondle, and otherwise share intimacies.

I do recognize that there can be special problems on for single people and for established couples in communicating easily about contagion. The subject is not that difficult to deal with but can be loaded with particular kinds of anxieties.

Will condoms help matters?

The answer is yes and no: A condom will help provide protection to a man against low-level shedding of the virus from asymptomatic women. This is a rare condition where a woman does not; experience symptoms while small amounts of the virus may be present intermittently in cervical fluids.

A condom can only protect the areas covered. If man has sores which cannot be covered, then a condom will not be much use. The same thing holds a woman’s lesions can contact areas not covered the condom.

There is a trade-off in using condoms even where they do protect against lesion contact. You might contribute to the spread of the virus, enlarging the rash. Certainly you will aggravate the condition and most likely retard healing.

Used wisely, condoms can help protect against herpes.

Used unwisely, there will either be no protection, or there will be a trade-off in terms of healing and discomfort.

Can you be a carrier of herpes without having symptoms?

Nearly everyone in the United States will show anti-” bodies to either HSV I or II by the age of fifty. This means that they have been exposed to the virus at some time in their lives. We can then assume that a great majority are harboring herpes in the latent form, and in that sense are “carriers.” But, I repeat, the latent virus cannot be transmitted to someone else.

What are the chances of contracting herpes from someone who isn’t aware of having herpes or doesn’t experience symptoms?

There is no doubt that many people have herpes that has gone undiagnosed because they have ignored symptoms or their symptoms were so mild as to not give sufficient cause for concern. Remember, the response to a herpes infection can range all the way from a subclinical infection up to a serious illness. In a subclinical infection, few or no identifiable signs may indicate inoculation by the virus; therefore, the person may be unaware of the condition. Subclinical infections are probably quite common, and the future course of such an infection is difficult to predict.

Identifiable recurrences may or may not occur in the future. So we do have the possibility of what we called earlier “asymptomatic shedding of virus,” or the potential for transmission when there are no obvious symptoms. It is impossible to determine if, in fact, asymptomatic shedding of virus is responsible for any significant transmission of herpes, if any, since we do not know how much virus is necessary to interact with and break down the immune status of a person who is exposed.

You are continually being exposed to many kinds of infectious agents, either by choice or fortune, and your body fends them off very well, especially if it has had any prior experience with them. Only when these agents have a chance to avoid or beat body defenses does an infectious illness occur.

The most probable conclusion is that it is the people who are uninformed or who ignore or are careless about symptoms who are responsible for virtually all transmission of herpes (along with many other sexually transmitted diseases), and that transmission due to genuine asymptomatic viral shedding is extremely rare, if it occurs at all.

There is a flip side to this question that is much more bothersome emotionally for some people. It is the feeling of being potentially contagious all the time. This occurs in both men and women and often stands as a major hurdle to the free development of relationships but it shouldn’t! The feeling is really related to a kind of guilt before the fact: “What if I do infect someone even if I take all the precautions I think appropriate?” The word contamination often crops up here with a strong overlay of emotion that can be much more destructive than the realities of the risk of herpes transmission.

The fact is that couples informed about what symptoms to be aware of very rarely infect one another, and those that do are quite clear on how and when. If asymptomatic viral shedding were a significant contributor to transmission, many more people would be infecting their; partners. From the clinical evidence this just doesn’t seem to be the case! With mutual cooperation, the risk of transmission between partners should be essentially zero.

While there is reason for concern to take appropriate precautions against transmitting herpes, the elements of; paranoia and fear tinged with guilt can serve to destroy intimacy and self-esteem much better than the herpes itself. It is hard to overstate this. Herpes can feed into the E various ways we have been taught to think about ourselves, our bodies, and other people, and it can serve to undermine hard-won confidence. There is no reason for that. The emotional impact of herpes will be discussed more thoroughly.

If you suffer from this constant feeling of contagion, it can help to have viral cultures taken to ease your mind. Use condoms, or use a spermicidal foam, which has antiviral properties, during intercourse. Letting this feeling stand in the way of close relationships is much more debilitating than herpes virus itself.

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