Knowledge is the Greatest Power
Although herpes is generally the same in both men and women, there are some different factors involved for each sex.
Herpes in men is slightly less in percentage than that of women with genital herpes. This is because it is far more easy for the vagina to be exposed to the virus from the penis than it is for the penis to become exposed to the infection from the vagina. The main reason for this is that the penis enters internally into the vaginal cavity and exposes more areas of susceptible tissue to the infection that is on the males genitals.
The herpes virus is generally spread by skin-to-skin contact from active blisters to other sites on the surface of the skin. An open cut or an area where the skin has been roughened by an abrasion or by having sex will make transmission even more likely to occur. Some reports suggest that the virus may also be at risk of being spread before the blister stage when the area is reddish and itchy. This is known as the prodromal stage and asymptomatic viral shedding which can occur at least 5% of the days of a year.
Condoms & Gloves for Prevention of Herpes in Men
Contact with an open blister should be scrupulously avoided because of the highly contagious nature of this virus. If a condom can cover the area of infection then the chances of transmission are extremely low. This is because the herpes virus is spread by direct contact with the active infection on the skin. Despite the ability of condoms and gloves to prevent transmission of the virus, it is still highly recommended that sexual conduct is avoided during an active outbreak. This is the best way to avoid any possibility of spreading the virus and remain sexually responsible.
If during active outbreaks the avoidance of sexual acts is not decided upon then a rubber condom and soft rubber surgical gloves should most definitely be used and then properly disposed of, NOT down the toilet, but first into plastic bags and then ideally incinerated or at least double wrapped and then put outside into the garbage bin.
It is promising to hear reports from couples, within which one partner has the virus and the other does not, that if you employ the right avoidance techniques and perform the responsible procedures when it comes to sex, that it is possible to have a healthy sex life and to not spread the virus.
If you choose to have a sexual relationship with a person who has herpes, you must accept the risk that you can possibly get it too. Because of the nature of life and it’s unpredictability there is always going to be the chance of infection; although, this is greatly diminished when the adequate sexual protocols are adhered to. You will need to understand the basics of herpes prevention.
In a new relationship, you may have concerns about risking infection for a relationship which you are unsure will last. This is why sex should not be as important in priorities as it is for the two of you to establish a deep connection based on trust and care for one another. If you are entering a new relationship which you are unsure of at first, then it is of utmost importance that you either abstain from sex until this connection is secure and the act of telling the partner is appropriate or let the partner know up-front that you have the virus so they are aware of what they are dealing with and are respected in their rights to know what their risks may be.
Just because there are no symptoms occurring for you does not necessarily mean that you do not have the virus. If you have ever been sexually active at all in the past, you may have been at risk of contracting herpes and you could actually have it yourself, even if you are not experiencing any noticeable symptoms. Remember, many people with herpes don’t know they have it (80% of those with genital herpes are unaware that they have the virus). Because herpes can be spread in the absence of symptoms, it can be hard to know when a person became infected and by whom. This is why it is essential for everyone to get regular STD tests to determine if they have any unknown infections that need addressing.
If you would like to find out whether you have herpes, a blood test can tell you whether you have HSV-2, the type of herpes that usually infects the genital area, or if you have HSV-1 (oral herpes/cold sores), but it cannot distinguish between genital and oral infection on the site of the skin; in other words it cannot determine if an outbreak on your mouth is caused from the strain of HSV 1 or HSV 2 and vice versa for outbreaks on the genitals. Oral herpes, better known as cold sores is most typically caused from the HSV 1 strain and is by far the most common form of herpes in the nation (being 1 out of 8 people that have the HSV 1 virus). HSV 2 is generally related to the genital area and this is most typically the strain that will be found here. HSV 2 is less common than oral herpes/cold sores, but still is prevalent amongst us (1 out of 5 people have genital herpes/HSV 2).