Should we have only protected sex?
ImageI have just fallen in love with an amazing, incredible woman! However, I've also learned of late that she may very well have herpes and likely has HPV. She will be tested soon, but I am a virgin and totally clean. I know that the rates of this are high (as many as one in four women for herpes), but we are both worried that even with protection, in a long-term relationship, she will likely give me one of these.  As a side note, she hasn't had an outbreak of herpes-like symptoms since the original infection over a year ago, and has remained sexually dormant since.  Should we be worried about protected coitus if she does have these STDs? There's a lot of emotional investment, so I'm walking on eggshells here. Thanks.

 

ImageI’m not a medical doctor and so my first suggestion is to check with one, but I did write a book about herpes so I know something about that disease. One fact I know is that herpes can be transmitted even if the person with herpes has no visible outbreak. Here’s another fact: while it may be called “genital” herpes, other parts of the body like the thighs and buttocks can have a spot where live viruses may appear, which means that even if you have sex with a condom, you aren’t necessarily protected.

 Now it turns out that if the person with herpes takes a drug, (I’m not in the drug promotion business, which is why you should consult with your doctor) the odds of transmission are a lot less. So while you should avoid sex if your partner has a visible outbreak, and you should wear condoms, as they offer some protection, you probably should also integrate some drug therapy into the mix. But since the details about all this medical information change regularly, and I wrote the book a number of years ago, please check with a doctor so that you can minimize the risk of transmission.
 

 
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