Usher Raymond fans were shocked and saddened when a Georgia woman filed a lawsuit in 2018 accusing him of infecting her with the herpes virus.
Nothing ruins a sex symbol's public image like the knowledge that he has an incurable infectious STD. But all is not lost for Usher and other men and women infected with an STD.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1 in every 6 people are infected with the herpes simplex virus (HSV).
If you are sexually active, your chances of contracting herpes is high. Remember that most people who have herpes don't know they are infected.
Herpes is a contagious viral infection that is spread through skin-to-skin contact with infected areas by touching or during vaginal and anal sex, and kissing.
The virus can infect the genitals, anus, buttocks, thighs, mouth, and eyes (ocular herpes).
Herpes causes outbreaks of itchy, painful open sores (blisters) that come and go. Once you are infected with herpes, it is a lifelong disease.
The chances of infecting a sex partner is highest when a person has an active outbreak. When not having an outbreak, there is a slim 4-10% likelihood of transmission.
People who are infected with herpes can still enjoy a healthy and satisfying sex life if they are careful and compliant with their medications.
Everydayhealth.com published a complete guide to help people learn how to have a fulfilling sex life with herpes.
Communicate with Your Partner
Communication is key. Be open and honest with your sex partners if you have been diagnosed with herpes or any sexually transmitted disease. "This is a conversation that has to come right up front if you feel like you're going to be sexually active with someone new," says Katherine Bettin, PhD, a psychologist and certified sex therapist in Midlothian, Virginia.
Follow these three steps for prevention.
1. Avoid Sex During Outbreaks
Transmission is highest during an active outbreak. Avoid sex completely during active outbreaks. Condoms can't completely cover infectious areas. Wait until all sores have scabbed over and healed before having sex. "Wait until all your symptoms go away, including any sores, itching, and tingling," says Fred Wyand, a sexual health educator.
2. Use Condoms or Dental Dams
Using condoms or dental dams consistently will diminish your risk of transmitting herpes to your partner.
3. Take Your Medication as Prescribed
Talk to your doctor about taking an antiviral medication to suppress the virus. You can take it to speed healing at the onset of an outbreak, or daily if you suffer from frequent outbreaks. "Research has shown that taking Valtrex daily as a suppressive therapy can reduce transmission by about half," says Wyand.
Antiviral medications most commonly used to treat herpes include:
"The three drugs are all basically the same medication. Their efficacy [effectiveness] is the same," says I. Cori Baill, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist and an associate professor at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine in Orlando. The difference, she explains, is how often a person takes them.
This has been your Medical Minute.
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