DrobUA saidAlright, I've been talking to this guy. So far he seems like he is a great guy and I kinda like him. We have never done anything sexually but he decided to tell me he has HSV-2. My first reaction was,"What's that?" He told me it was genital herpes. I was very impressed that he had the decency to tell me before we had done anything because the sad truth is that many guys wouldn't say anything. I'm not naive, I know STD's are extremely common and I don't want this to be a deal breaker. My question is what is the best way to protect myself. Obviously condoms are a must and avoiding contact during an outbreak is pretty standard but is there anything else I should know? Certain things to avoid? I thought I read somewhere that it can be spread through saliva and it just shows up different places on different people. Anyways, your thoughts are appreciated.
The answer here is obvious. The VERY best way to protect yourself is distance. If you're not around him, you won't get it. Folks can "shed" even without visible sores, so, it's just a guessing game. I know several folks who are married who have Herpes and gave it to their partner.
Herpes viruses cycle between periods of active disease—presenting as blisters containing infectious virus particles—that last 2–21 days, followed by a remission period, during which the sores disappear. Genital herpes, however, is often asymptomatic, though viral shedding may still occur. After initial infection, the viruses move to sensory nerves, where they reside as life-long, latent viruses. Causes of recurrence are uncertain, though some potential triggers have been identified. Over time, episodes of active disease reduce in frequency and severity.
Herpes simplex is most easily transmitted by direct contact with a lesion or the body fluid of an infected individual. Transmission may also occur through skin-to-skin contact during periods of asymptomatic shedding. Barrier protection methods are the most reliable method of preventing transmission of herpes, but they merely reduce rather than eliminate risk. Oral herpes is easily diagnosed if the patient presents with visible sores or ulcers. Early stages of orofacial herpes and genital herpes are harder to diagnose; laboratory testing is usually required. 20% of the U.S. population has antibodies to HSV-2, although not all of them have a history of genital lesions. Prevalence of HSV infections varies throughout the world. Poor hygiene, overcrowding, lower socioeconomic status, and birth in an undeveloped country have been identified as risk factors associated with increased HSV-1 childhood infection.
There is no cure for herpes. Once infected, the virus remains in the body for life. However, after several years, some people will become perpetually asymptomatic and will no longer experience outbreaks, though they may still be contagious to others. Vaccines are in clinical trials but have not demonstrated effectiveness. Treatments can reduce viral reproduction and shedding, prevent the virus from entering the skin, and alleviate the severity of symptomatic episodes.
Herpes simplex should not be confused with conditions caused by other viruses in the herpesviridae family such as herpes zoster, which is a viral disease caused by varicella zoster virus. There is also a possibility of confusion with "hand, foot and mouth disease" due to apparition of lesions on the skin.