Genital herpes prevention starts with you. I will cover preventative methods as will as give you a brief over view of how the virus is contracted
Genital herpes, or herpes simplex virus type two is contracted through direct skin-to-skin contact with another individual who is infected with the disease. This is the only way that genital herpes can be passed from one individual to another. The herpes simplex virus type two lives in tiny molecules in the skin and mucous membranes. To infect another individual, the herpes simplex virus travels through small and sometimes microscopic abrasions in the skin or in the mucous membranes located in the mouth or genital areas from the infected individual to the non-infected. While the possibility of an exchange of the disease cannot be protected against 100%, there are certain steps that can be taken to help prevent the transmission of the disease.
Genital Herpes Prevention
The use of condoms during sexual intercourse can offer a modest amount of protection against the transmission of herpes simplex virus type two for both males and females.
Studies show that those who use condoms consistently have a 30% lower risk of contracting the herpes simplex type two virus than those who never use condoms during intercourse. The virus is not capable of passing through the latex material that condoms are made of.
However, condoms cannot be 100% effective because they do not prevent contact between all areas of an infected individual's skin and a non-infected individual. The skin around the infected individual's scrotum, anus, buttocks or upper thighs can also transmit the disease.
Further precautions to protect oneself from coming in contact with other areas of the infected individual's skin during sexual intercourse can be taken.
For example, wearing clothing or undergarments such as underwear in the boxer short style can help to shield susceptible areas but allow access to the genitals through a small opening. This type of precaution can be effective in helping to prevent transmission of the infection but is of course, not 100% reliable.
Furthermore, the use of condoms or other forms of protection such as dental dams can help to limit the transmission of the herpes simplex type two virus from the genitals of the infected individual to the mouth of another. Some antiviral medications, such as Valacidovir along with a condom or dental dam can be used during oral sex to further help decrease the possibility of transmission of the virus from one infected partner to a non-infected partner.
Condom use has been shown to reduce the risk of transmission by about 50 %, although it has also been shown that condom use is much more effective in preventing transmission of the disease from males to females, than from females to males.
Genital Herpes Prevention From Mother To Child
Genital Herpes simplex type two can also be transmitted from infected mothers to their infants during childbirth. This risk is increased greatly if the mother becomes infected with genital herpes around the time of the child's birth.
If recently infected, the risk for transmission of the disease during delivery can be as high as 30-60%. This risk decreases greatly to 1-3% if the genital herpes infection is recurrent and if there are no cold sore outbreaks or lesions at the time of birth.
The risk of transmission from mother to infant can further be prevented if the mother abstains from sexual intercourse with an infected individual during her last trimester of pregnancy. Mothers who are infected with genital herpes simplex type two should also try to avoid any birthing procedures they could cause lacerations or trauma to the infant during delivery.
There are no guaranteed genital herpes prevention methods but, by following the precautions listed above, one can greatly reduce their risk of contracting genital herpes simplex virus two.