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Plus, you're probably at least a little curious about safer sex precautions.

Living (and dating) with herpes

Herpes Simplex 1 vs. Herpes Simplex 2—and Why the Difference Matters. You don't want that to be you. The hardest part may be deciding how to broach the subject.

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You never know—your partner may divulge he or she also has herpes. You could start the conversation by mentioning cold sores , then move into the subject of genital herpes. You could also start by saying you want to be honest in the relationship, or that you want to discuss safe sex. It also helps to know a little about how HSV works when you talk to a partner about the infection.

Getting the details from your doctor first may be helpful, says Dr. For starters, there are two types of the virus: While there is no cure for herpes , sexual health expert Dr.


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Bobby Lazzara says you can manage it enough to reduce the number of outbreaks and minimize the risk of transmission to future sexual partners. He says herpes outbreak prevention may involve taking a once- or twice-daily antiviral medication, and the treatment of active outbreaks involves topical treatment, an antiviral medication, and sometimes a painkiller. Since this news can come as a shock, it can be difficult to process all of the diagnosis and treatment information in one appointment.

4 Questions You Probably Have About Dating With Herpes

Between your appointments, create a list of questions you have about your diagnosis. Here are a few tips to help you tell a sexual partner that you have herpes.


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The conversation needs to happen before having sex and hopefully not in the heat of the moment. When you tell your partners, Harbushka says you need to create the conversation around their needs.

3 Ways to Prevent Passing Herpes to Your Partner

They are going to have questions for you concerning their health and will want to know how they can avoid contracting the virus. Harbushka recommends starting with something like this: Recommend you both get tested. Having the herpes virus does not mean that your dating life is over. Here are some tips for dating with herpes. But it does require some responsible maintenance and communication with both your sexual partners and your physician.

An open and honest conversation about your diagnosis can require emotional intimacy that may be scary to have in a new relationship. Harbushka says to relax and realize that it can be sexy to communicate with your partner about sex and other important intimate topics. With the right information and adequate protection, you can still enjoy a healthy sexual relationship. Here are some tips to help you and your partner stay safe during sex.

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Even though most people are only shedding the virus for a short period of time, Mysore says you cannot completely eliminate the risk. Taking a daily antiviral can help suppress the virus as well as the asymptomatic shedding, says Harbushka. One study found that taking an antiviral daily can reduce transmission.

This strategy is not appropriate for everyone, but may be reasonable for some people with genital herpes.

Get the facts about Herpes in relationships

Lazzara stresses the importance of consistent and correct condom use, which can provide significant protection against the spread of herpes. Plus, avoiding sexual interaction while experiencing an active herpes outbreak will also minimize the risk of transmission. Read our guide for proper tips on how to use outside and inside condoms.

Finally, stress often triggers a new herpes outbreak, so Mysore suggests having good stress management skills and living a healthy lifestyle, which can help in future outbreaks and therefore lessen the chance of transmission.


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The herpes simplex virus HSV is an infection that causes herpes. Herpes appears most often on the genitals or mouth.