Genital herpes is a virus that is transmitted through intimate and sexual contact. The virus comes from herpes simplex 2, and is permanent once you have contracted it. There is no known cure for this virus, but there are prevention methods you can use. The virus may not cause symptoms for everyone. For people that do experience symptoms it is called an outbreak. During this time one can have lesions or sores on or inside of their genitals and surrounding area. This can be accompanied by fever and swollen glands.
The best prevention is abstaining from sexual activities. This can be difficult, as it includes kissing, oral sex and intercourse. You can use condoms to reduce the risk of infection, but this does not necessarily prevent it. This is because the infection is usually spread from the sores to the mucosal skin cells including the mouth, genitals and anus. If an infected person has sores on their thighs or buttocks a condom will not protect from these areas.
Another method of prevention is by only having sexual relations with a partner that has been tested and is not infected. If either of you engage in sex with another partner this puts them at risk for infection. Once they are infected, even if they do not have signs of an outbreak they can still spread the virus on to you through skin cells.
If you do have intimate and sexual contact with a new partner, do not be afraid to ask them if they have been tested for sexually transmitted diseases and if they may have genital herpes. It can be difficult to ask new partners such things, so you may need to be creative. You could start by simply asking them if they have ever been tested for any viruses. If they say no, or that it’s been awhile, ask them if you could make appointments to get tested together. Afterwards you can both go out to eat and see a movie. Making a date out of it can reduce some of the awkwardness. Ultimately you both will be doing a good thing, since once you get genital herpes you will always have it.