I was just drinking my coffee this morning and got a frantic call from a friend. He just met someone who is fabulous and he’s very attracted to her, there’s just one complication. She told him she has herpes and he’s petrified. Now what? He doesn’t want to risk getting the infection.
Help! My new boyfriend or girlfriend has Herpes
This is a scenario that gets repeated thousands of times every day. So if you’re in this situation, you’re not alone and here’s what you need to know.
- There are 2 types of herpes: oral (Type 1) and genital (Type 2).
- Both types can show up in the genital region
- Typically, people with Type 2 genital herpes will have approximately 2-6 outbreaks/year
- For people with Type 1 genital herpes, outbreaks are much less common, averaging 1 every 1-10 years.
You may also have herpes and not know it
Most people who have the virus that causes genital herpes don’t know it. Really! That’s because the symptoms may be mild and are easily mistaken for a yeast or bladder infection, or a rash or zipper burn.
Approximate Risk of having herpes:
< 25 years 1 in 5 people have herpes
25 – 65 1 in 4 people have herpes
65+ 1 in 3 people have herpes
Look, the fact is, there’s no such thing as 100% safe sex with anyone. Before any couple decides to become intimate, I recommend that they BOTH be tested for infections to see what else they could be sharing besides fun.
Herpes is an infection that can be controlled and suppressed with anti-virals. There are other infections, such as Hepatitis C which is much more serious.
The best way for someone with Herpes to decrease the chance of transmitting the virus to a partner, is by taking Valacyclovir, an anti-viral that has good research behind it and helped prevent transmission by 75%. If couples ALSO use condoms, they can further reduce their risk.
For more information on Herpes here are some great resources.
American Sexual Health Herpes Resource Center