We know that women are 6 to 7 times more likely than men to become infected with herpes.
A report from the World Health Organization estimates that 28% of women will be infected with Herpes by age 50. The percentages are higher if you live in certain areas of the world. Yes, this is true, which is why condoms just might be a girl’s best friend. They aren’t 100% protective but do offer an added layer of protection.
Why this happens
Most researchers believe that it has to do with a few key differences between men and women:
- Our vaginas have a different type of tissue than men’s penises
- The vaginal tissue is the same type that’s on the inside of your mouth, mucous membranes, which are more likely to tear and get traumatized by stretching and friction
- A man’s penis is covered by regular skin
- Women’s vaginas are receptive, that means that anybody fluids exchanged during sex are there for a while, increasing the chance of infection.
The fact is, there is no such thing as 100% safe sex. However, you can ask partners to be tested before you are intimate.
What else are we sharing besides a good time?
I advise my patients to ask that their partners be tested for herpes and other STIs before they have sex. Many providers don’t routinely add a Herpes test to the standard STI panel, so you’ll have to ask for a Type Specific blood test for herpes.
These are highly accurate and can help partners take steps to help reduce the risk of transmission, using condoms and anti-viral medications.