When an individual first discovers he or she has contracted herpes, their main concern may be how the condition is going to affect their relationships now or in the future. The good news for sufferers is that herpes is not incompatible with romantic relationships nor does it have to stop infected individuals from enjoying a healthy sex life.
Having a Relationship
Although herpes can cause problems, one of those does not have to involve intimate relationships. Some people who contract the virus worry about how they will be perceived by future partners because they have herpes. They may assume that they will be viewed as promiscuous, for example.
However, 60 million individuals currently suffer from genital herpes, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, so the infection is actually quite common and can be passed onto a partner even during the first intimate encounter.
The important part of having a successful relationship even when one partner has been infected with herpes is honesty. The infected partner needs to be honest about the condition so that the other partner can protect himself/herself as necessary.
Preventing the Spreading of the Virus
Even when both partners are aware of the potential risk, the knowledge is not enough to prevent transmission of the virus. First, condoms should always be used during intimate contact, including oral, vaginal, and anal penetration. Although not full-proof, the condom can form a barrier to reduce the risk of transmission when direct contact occurs.
Additionally, a medication intended to suppress outbreaks of the virus, such as Valtrex, can be part of a daily treatment for herpes that can help reduce the risk of spreading the disease.
With treatment and safe sex practices, romantic partners can reduce their risk. However, other steps can reduce that risk even further.
Partners should not engage in intimate contact when the infected partner is showing signs of an outbreak, including blisters and open sores. Although symptoms do not have to be present for transmission to occur, it can increase the likelihood of that occurring. Also, partners who have cold sores on their mouths should not kiss or perform oral sex on their partners either.
Being diagnosed with herpes does not have to be the end to a person’s romantic future. With honesty and precautions, couples can continue to enjoy their intimate moments without constantly worrying about the threat of passing on the virus to their partners.