Dating an infected partner with herpes

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For some this may be stating the obvious, but let me first say that you should always tell your partner if you have herpes, even if you have no symptoms. And for sex with herpes to be its most fulfilling and safe, we recommend that you have it in the context of a mutually monogamous relationship, as does the CDC.

The likelihood of passing genital herpes to a partner is highest during an outbreak (times when a sore is present).

This is still possible as long as other precautions are taken and both parties are informed and aware of the risks. Suppressive therapy is the use of prescription Valtrex on a daily basis, whether an outbreak is present or not.

Whereas Valtrex is commonly used to stop an outbreak as it is happening, it can also be used daily to prevent outbreaks to begin with.

The same goes for not performing oral sex while a cold sore is present. A dental dam is a latex barrier that can be placed over the vulva/vagina (and anal area if involved) to prevent skin-to-skin contact during oral sex. HSV-2, which is usually genital herpes, can also spread to the oral region, but it’s not as likely.

For example, if you’re a man who is not having an outbreak, you would have an 8% chance of giving it to your partner. (Add in antivirals, and you’ve brought it down to 2%).

For more information, read: Do condoms prevent herpes?

It is possible, but rare, since HSV-2 doesn’t like the oral environment.

In fact, only 3% of oral herpes outbreaks are from HSV-2. If you and your partner have the same type of herpes, you have more freedom than a couple not trying to infect one partner.

Remember that you must always tell potential partners if you have herpes, even even you have no symptoms. I also recommend the wisdom of having sex in the context of a mutually monogamous relationship, as does the CDC.

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