Usher readers were divided over the issue of contracting or transmitting herpes while wearing condoms. Condoms do not prevent the spread of herpes because herpes is spread via skin-to-skin contact. But the risk of contracting herpes is a lot less if men wear condoms during sex.

According to recent studies, wearing condoms decreases the risk of herpes by 30%.

The study showed that men who wore condoms 100% of the time during sex contracted the virus 30% of the time. That means 70% of the men were herpes-free.

Even if a carrier is not experiencing an outbreak, the skin on the genitals, thighs and buttocks constantly sheds the virus. Wearing a condom won’t prevent transmission because, in some cases, condoms don’t cover the whole penis shaft.

Even when a carrier is asymptomatic (showing no signs or symptoms) he can still transmit the virus while wearing a condom.

Herpes is not usually fatal but it can be annoying, painful, and disruptive to your daily life.

What causes Genital Herpes?

Genital herpes can be caused by herpes simplex 1 or 2. But typically HSV-1 causes genital herpes via oral sex. The infection can be spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who is infected — even when they have no outbreaks (no signs or symptoms).

What causes a cold sore?

Cold sores (oral herpes) are usually caused by herpes simplex 1 (HSV-1). Most infected adults contracted HSV-1 during their children. Children are infected with HSV-1 when they are kissed by parents or family friends who are infected.

How can I reduce my risk of getting herpes?

According to the CDC, the best way to prevent STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Single men and women should practice celibacy until you are in a committed relationship or married.

Can herpes be cured?

Herpes is caused by a virus. There is no cure for any virus, therefore there is no cure for herpes. However, there are medicines that can prevent or shorten outbreaks. Speak with your doctor or practitioner about which anti-viral medication is best for you.

Should I use Valtrex and condoms together?

Valtrex is an anti-viral medication used in the management of herpes simplex and herpes zoster (shingles). Using Valtrex and condoms together greatly reduces the risk of STD or STI transmission.

Speak to your doctor or practitioner about side effects of Valtrex.

This has been your Medical Minute.

More Info On the Web

STD Facts – Genital Herpes – CDC

Common Symptoms of Genital Herpes in Men and Women – WebMD

Genital Herpes | Herpes Simplex 1 – MedlinePlus

Valtrex: Uses, Dosage & Side Effects –


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