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Question
Posted by: anon | 2010/05/06

herpes??

we have just recently found out my byfrnd has herpes, he was honest and told me, does this mean sex is no no kissing? how do i protect myself from getting it any precautions?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageSexologist

I see Simone has again been quick with an informative response...who are you, Simone?

Herpes is caused by a virus that can be transmitted by skin on skin contact with someone with symptoms (watery blisters) or even through transmission of fluids (e.g. saliva, fluid exchange during sex) when the person has no obvious signs of the blisters. To be absolutely certain of not being infected the advice would be to prevent all fluid exchange - sexually and through kissing, and prevent exposure to sores when they are present as the fluid inside carries the virus. Unfortunately this virus remains dormant in a person indefinitely. Depending on the type of herpes he has, type 1 (mostly, but not exclusively oral) or type 2 (mostly, but no exclusively genital) may inform the behviour you are willing to participate in and the risks you are willing to take. If it is genital herpes, you would be safe to kiss his mouth, but not perform unprotected oral sex. If it is oral herpes, then he shouldn't perform unprotected oral sex on you. You may, however, wish to take the risk of cold sores/fever blisters and still kiss his mouth when he is unsymptomatic (blister free)...

Your boyfriend has been very responsible for his honesty - this should be commended. This virus should not prevent intimacy, but you may need to adapt your usual intimate behaviour to protect yourself.

Check out the following sites for more information:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001324.htm
http://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/STDFact-herpes.htm

Claire
SASHA

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: simone | 2010/05/08

Yeah,boomsie there is no cure for herpes at this time, though there are treatments and medications that can help shorten outbreaks and alleviate symptoms. In 1995, a vaccine for chicken pox became available but for other forms of herpes, vaccines have yet to be developed.

Reply to simone
Posted by: simone | 2010/05/08

I strongly recommend you to go for testing.Many people are concerned about getting or giving herpes to another, especially since herpes has no cure. They also are worried since herpes may be spread when a person has no symptoms.Blood tests for herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), the most common cause of genital herpes, are available. These blood tests can be used when someone is concerned about having been exposed to herpes, but has no visible symptoms. However, they vary in accuracy.
Genital herpes is usually diagnosed by visual examination to see if any lesions are present. If there is a question as to the cause of a sore or abnormal cell changes on the cervix, a tissue sample or culture can be taken to determine what type of virus or other microorganism is responsible. For herpes, it''s preferable to have this test done within the first 48 hours after symptoms first show up for a more accurate result.
Herpes can be transmitted when there are no obvious symptoms of infection. Just because no sores are present does not mean that there is no risk of infection with herpes. If one is concerned about having been exposed to herpes, but has no visible symptoms, a blood test can be used. Many blood tests for herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2 —  the virus most often responsible for genital herpes) are available, though they vary in accuracy, some not distinguishing between HSV-1 and 2, while others possibly confusing other herpes viruses (e.g., chicken pox) for HSV-1 or 2. However,a positive HSV-2 result most likely points to genital rather than oral herpes because most cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-2.

Reply to simone
Posted by: an on | 2010/05/07

thankyou didnt know how to speak bout it to him, it genital herpes!!
should i go for testing and where?

Reply to an on
Posted by: boomsie | 2010/05/07

so is herpes a disease that does not go away?

Reply to boomsie
Posted by: simone | 2010/05/06

Unfortunately, herpes is a frustrating infection  essentially, if one partner has herpes, the other partner is at risk of contracting herpes, whether or not sores are present. This is true whether you''re having oral, vaginal, or anal sex. It''s up to you and your partner to decide what level of risk you are comfortable with. When sores are visible, the risk of transmission through sex and skin-to-skin contact (around the area with sores) is highest. When no sores are visible, the risks are less certain, but there is a possibility of the herpes virus being present on the surface of the skin even without causing a sore —  this is called viral, or asymptomatic, shedding .Viral shedding can occur at anytime and usually occurs near where active herpes sores appear.
Good Luck!!!
Because herpes can occur on parts of the body that aren''t covered by a condom, and because of the possibility of viral shedding, transmission can happen during vaginal, anal, and/or oral sex, even if you''re using protection. Viral shedding occurs a few days per year at the most  however it''s not possible to pinpoint the " shedding"  days, so take this into consideration when making your decisions.

For safer oral sex, using a condom (for oral sex on a penis) or a dam (for oral sex on a vulva or anus) is still safer than nothing at all. A dam is a thin, square piece of latex that is placed over the clitoris, vulva, or anus. You can also use a non-lubed condom by pulling off the ring and cutting along one side to make a rectangle  or, use a small piece of plastic wrap (preferably non-microwaveable wrap because it is less porous). And just to be clear, herpes can be transmitted by either the giver or receiver of oral sex. It is possible for the person giving oral sex to get herpes if their partner has genital herpes and a sore is active or there is viral shedding. It is also possible for the person giving oral sex to give herpes to their parther, if they have an active herpes sore or viral shedding on their mouth.

Another thing to consider is whether or not your concerns are in the context of a committed relationship. If the person with herpes is someone with whom you would like to, or plan to, have a long-term partnership, then you may be more willing to take and accept risk. If you''re not sure, you may choose to practice safer sex and/or avoid certain types of contact.
You may want to have some open, frank discussions about what sexual activities you''re willing to do with your partner. It''s not an easy situation to be in, knowing that there''s a potential for herpes to be transmitted, and no one but you and your partner(s) can decide the best course of action. In time, you''ll likely come up with a few ways that will let both of you feel safe and enjoy your sexual adventures, regardless of herpes.

Reply to simone
Posted by: whena | 2010/05/06

Condom is a requirement definetely. Kissing ok. Visit to a Dr for BOTH of you -defnitely

Reply to whena
Posted by: Sexologist | 2010/05/06

I see Simone has again been quick with an informative response...who are you, Simone?

Herpes is caused by a virus that can be transmitted by skin on skin contact with someone with symptoms (watery blisters) or even through transmission of fluids (e.g. saliva, fluid exchange during sex) when the person has no obvious signs of the blisters. To be absolutely certain of not being infected the advice would be to prevent all fluid exchange - sexually and through kissing, and prevent exposure to sores when they are present as the fluid inside carries the virus. Unfortunately this virus remains dormant in a person indefinitely. Depending on the type of herpes he has, type 1 (mostly, but not exclusively oral) or type 2 (mostly, but no exclusively genital) may inform the behviour you are willing to participate in and the risks you are willing to take. If it is genital herpes, you would be safe to kiss his mouth, but not perform unprotected oral sex. If it is oral herpes, then he shouldn't perform unprotected oral sex on you. You may, however, wish to take the risk of cold sores/fever blisters and still kiss his mouth when he is unsymptomatic (blister free)...

Your boyfriend has been very responsible for his honesty - this should be commended. This virus should not prevent intimacy, but you may need to adapt your usual intimate behaviour to protect yourself.

Check out the following sites for more information:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001324.htm
http://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/STDFact-herpes.htm

Claire
SASHA

Reply to Sexologist

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