5 Ways to Protect Yourself From Genital Herpes

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Photo Credit: Deon Black (Unsplash)

As people have continued to become sexually liberated, we’ve seen the rise of sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV/AIDS. While advances in medicine have meant that most of these conditions are now somewhat manageable, they are by no means easy to handle.

Having an STD impacts on your physical health and your mental and emotional well being, making it particularly difficult to be sexually intimate with a partner. Genital herpes is one STD that is on the rise with around 16% of people aged 14-49 having the condition. While there is no cure for the condition, there are a number of ways to treat the effects. From antiviral medications to the use of a genital herpes light, each method has varying levels of success.

While there is no guarantee of success when treating the condition, prevention is likely to save you a lot of stress and discomfort in the long term. Here are five tips on protecting yourself from genital herpes: 

Use Protection

In addition to birth control, using a latex condom is one of the best defenses against genital herpes. Firstly the infected area must be covered, which works in the case of intercourse, but not necessarily when it comes to oral sex. You therefore also need to be careful when having oral sex with someone with a cold sore. 

Talk to Your Partner

As awkward as it may be, communication is key. Talk to your partner about their sexual history. It is important to note that most people with genital herpes won’t know they are infected, so ask if they’ve had any other STDS, as those that have are more likely to have genital herpes.

Get Yourself (and Your Partner) Tested

Although it can cause a little anxiety, the best way to put your mind at ease about genital herpes is to have both yourself and your partner tested for this condition. This will give you a clear indication of whether either party has cause for concern. 

Stay Monogomous (or Celibate)

In some instances, the best thing you can do to protect yourself from genital herpes is to stay monogamous. Generally speaking, limiting your number of sexual partners will also reduce your risk. Failing that, you can also choose to refrain from sex altogether till you find a trustworthy partner. 

Consider Alternative Forms of Sexual Activity 

Naturally, monogamy (or total celibacy) isn’t for everyone. One way you can greatly reduce the risks of getting STDs is by avoiding intercourse that involves genital contact. Think in terms of mutual masturbation or the use of sex toys

Living with genital herpes is not a death sentence, but seeing as there is no cure for this condition, prevention is your best bet. It may take some effort, but overcoming a little awkwardness with regard to discussing STDs with sexual partners is worthwhile, as it could potentially save you greater discomfort in the longer term.