In this article you will find all the information you need to know about how genital herpes is transmitted, this terrible disease that affects our sex life and puts our partners at risk. The good news is that despite its permanent stay in the body, the virus can be treated and controlled so that it does not condemn our life to constant concern. Read on to know what you should avoid doing while genital herpes is active.
How is Genital Herpes Transmitted?
The herpes virus can spread through direct skin contact, especially during intimate sexual encounters. This includes kisses, oral sex and contact with the genitals or anus. The herpes virus can sometimes be transmitted through a cut in the skin. The herpes virus commonly spreads during an outbreak of symptoms since the virus is found in the blisters and arrives that arise in the skin.
“However, even when there are no symptoms, the herpes virus may still be present in the skin and be transmitted to other people who come into close contact”.
The medical terminology for the virus freeing itself from the surface of the skin is called “viral spread”, which can occur with symptoms (symptomatic herpes) and without symptoms (asymptomatic herpes). You can (if you have classic infection lesions) or not, be aware that viral spread is occurring. The virus cannot spread when it is inactive (in the nerve cell). There is no simple way to know if the herpes virus is active when there are no symptoms. On the other hand, you cannot get genital infection by sharing glasses, towels or bath seats. But you can share a bed, kiss and hug your partner.
Could I Have Contracted Herpes from My Current Partner?
A current episode of herpes may not be from a current partner. Some people with herpes for the first time may think they have acquired infection from a recent partner. However, because herpes can recur, a current episode of this viral infection may have been passed through sexual contact in a recent or distant past. For example, you may have contracted herpes from a previous partner and passed it to a subsequent partner (including your current partner) through viral dissemination. It is often difficult to identify the person from whom the infection has been contracted. The person who infected you may not be aware of your infection perhaps because you have never experienced symptoms or an active outbreak. Research suggests that it is possible to transmit type 2 herpes to a couple even when an outbreak is not being experienced.
Can Genital Herpes Be Transmitted to My Baby During Pregnancy?
Herpes can be passed to a baby via the placenta when the baby is still in the womb (this only happens if the mother is having her first viral infection), during childbirth (if the mother is spreading the virus from the genital region, by blisters or asymptomatically) or after childbirth (through direct skin contact). However, the vast majority of women with genital virus have normal pregnancies and give birth to healthy babies. Fortunately, women who have a genital herpes before becoming pregnant have a lower risk of passing the virus to their babies, because their organisms have developed antibodies to fight the virus. These antibodies reach the placenta to protect the baby. If a first episode of this infection occurs during pregnancy, the mother is given antiviral medications. Additionally, if this infection occurs in the last months of pregnancy, it is recommended that the baby be born by caesarean section. Recurrent episodes of genital infection in pregnancy present a lower risk of transmission. Caesarean section is recommended only if the woman has blisters at the time of delivery. Antiviral medications may also be recommended for women with recurrent genital herpes. Babies are also closely monitored after birth to rule out an infection. If you are pregnant and your partner has genital infection, it is important to avoid getting the virus during pregnancy. Avoid direct skin contact when blisters occur and remember to use condoms, even when there are no obvious lesions of genital herpes, to reduce the risk of possible transmission through viral shedding.
How Can I Reduce the Risk of Transmitting Herpes?
You can reduce your risk of transmitting herpes by following these steps.
- Talk about it with your partner so that together they can take the necessary preventive measures. When you have symptoms, choose sexual activities that do not include direct skin contact with the affected area. Remember that blisters in areas such as the buttocks and thighs can be as contagious as those in the genital area.
- Use condoms Condoms offer you and your partner good protection against a wide range of sexually transmitted diseases. Although condoms do not cover all potential viral dissemination sites, they do offer useful protection against asymptomatic dissemination by protecting body parts that are usually the most likely transmission sites. It is essential to place the condom as soon as the complete erection occurs, not only at the time of penetration.
- Use dental barriers. Dental barriers are a thin sheet of latex that can be used during oral sex. They will reduce exposure to oral herpes and minimize exposure to genital herpes.
- Stay informed about available antiviral medications. Taking an antiviral medication daily can reduce the frequency of episodes of viral spread. This can be particularly helpful when you have the herpes virus for the first time, since viral spread is more frequent in the first few days. If your partner is pregnant and has never had herpes, it is advisable to use the antiviral medication for the duration of pregnancy to prevent mother-to-baby transmission. It is recommended that you talk with your trusted doctor about this topic.
- Ask your partner if he or she has had herpes. If you have the same type of herpes as you, you are less likely to be able to transmit the virus. This knowledge can be especially useful if you are in a long-term monogamous sentimental relationship.
I am sure that with this information you will have found the answer to how genital herpes is transmitted and the forms of control and prevention that can maintain your quality of life. The most important thing is that you assume your condition and advise you in the best way to not let this disease be a punishment for you and your partner. So follow the steps mentioned above and I guarantee you can continue with a normal life.