Any person who is sexually active can be infected with genital herpes. Abstaining from oral, vaginal, and anal sex is the most assured way to remain uninfected. However, if you are sexually active, there are steps you can take to help reduce your risk of genital herpes:
- Have a mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.
- Always use a latex condom during all sexual activity. Proper and consistent use of condoms is important in order for them to be effective.
- Avoid kissing and oral sex if your partner has cold sores. Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) can be spread to the genital and anal areas through oral sex.
- Avoid risky behaviors, such as unprotected or anonymous sex.
- Know your status and your partner's status. Openly discuss sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
- Have regular checkups and get any recommended screening tests.
- Behavioral counseling may be advised if you are a sexually active person at increased risk for infection.
- Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and any concerns you have about STDs.
STD testing is the best way to monitor your status and your partner's status. Don't let the cost of healthcare deter you from knowing your status. Many local clinics and health facilities offer free screening tests.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2015 -
- Update Date: 05/20/2015 -