Fast Facts on Reducing Your Herpes Risks

More than 50 percent of American adults have oral herpes, while one in six adults in America have genital herpes. You or your partner might even have it unknowingly since many people have the virus with no symptoms ever showing up.

There is no proven cure for eliminating or getting rid of herpes once you catch it. But if you or your partner have the virus, there are ways that you can minimize your risks and reduce your odds of either sharing the virus or contracting the virus.

1. Abstinence or Monogamy is Best

This is not hyperbole or an exaggeration, but a scientific fact: the only protection that will work in 100% of herpes cases is either abstinence from any form of sexual activity, or staying in a long-term monogamous relationship where both you and your partner have been found to be free of the herpes virus.

Keep in mind that just because you don’t show any symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have the herpes virus. That’s why it’s important to get tested, even if you’re in a long-term monogamous relationship. Some people have lived their entire lives without ever showing signs of herpes!

2. Consistent and Correct Use of Protection

Wearing barriers, such as condoms and dental dams, can reduce your risks of transmitting or contracting herpes. However, it’s not the surefire, guaranteed protection that many people think it is. While one of the world’s largest studies on this topic found that protection does reduce your risks, as published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, wearing protection did not completely eliminate risks.

3. Eliminating Skin-to-Skin Adult Activity When Sores Are Present

You can still share or acquire the virus when not showing symptoms, but your odds are lower. However, when symptoms of the virus are present, your risks of sharing or acquiring herpes is much, much higher. If you or your partner are showing symptoms, abstain from skin-to-skin adult activity.