Contracting herpes is no laughing matter. Although the virus is extremely common (with some estimates as high as 1 in 5 people contracting the virus), its nature as a persistent virus makes avoiding an initial infection an important part of your health routine. The most common form of herpes transmission is through sexual contact, whether that is simple kissing, or penetrative sex, but the virus can also be spread through simple skin-to-skin contact.
Fortunately, avoiding herpes is not an extremely difficult task. Even if you have a partner or loved one with the virus, you are not guaranteed to contract the virus; similarly, if you have the virus, you are not doomed to a lifetime of physical restraint. Instead, using simple measures, you can keep yourself and your loved ones protected.
#1. Sexual Protection
Whether you use a condom for penetrative sex or a dental dam for oral sex, physical protection is one of the best soldiers on the frontlines of preventing herpes. Because the virus requires skin-to-skin or fluid contact, wearing protection dramatically reduces the likelihood of spreading or contracting the virus.
#2. Herpes Medication
Taking medication for herpes can keep flare-ups at bay, and can also keep shedding of the virus to a minimum. Herpes is most often transferred during a breakout of sores and scabs, but can also be transmitted during periods without visible sores. Taking medicine for the condition can help keep the illness as a whole under control.
#3. Tracking Your Body’s Rhythms
Paying attention to your body’s signs and symptoms is another excellent way to prevent both transmission and contraction of herpes. If you have the condition, you should familiarize yourself with the symptoms of an incoming flare-up. If you do not have the condition, you should be able to make a note of any behavior occurring in your body that is outside of the norm.
Finally, educating yourself is one of the most effective ways to avoid the herpes virus. Knowing the signs and symptoms of herpes, the ways to contract it, and the best ways to avoid it are all pivotal in making sure you avoid contact with the virus, or keep your own fight with it under control. Talk to any sexual partners to determine your sexual health and histories, and make sure you disclose your own experiences and medical background with your partner.
Herpes is not tantamount to a death sentence—neither for you nor your sex life. Instead, it is a manageable, simple condition that can be controlled and contained through the use of safe sex practices, medication, and careful monitoring of your body.