Condoms are known to act as an effective barrier against sexually transmitted infections. However, it is unfortunate that they only reduce the chances of contracting the herpes simplex virus. Unlike other sexually transmitted infections that transmit through bodily fluids, the herpes simplex virus tends to spread through direct contact with the infected region. Since condoms are incapable of covering the entire infected part of the body, they are often rendered partially effective.
However, this doesn’t mean you should be having unprotected sex. Although the amount of protection would be less than for an STI like HIV, a study conducted in 2009 proved that people who regularly used a condom were 30 percent less likely to get herpes compared to others who completely refrained from using protection. Industry experts point out that it isn’t about whether or not you’re using a condom; it is actually about the correct use of a condom that makes a difference.
Other ways of reducing the risk of herpes transmission
One of the most effective tools that help in reducing the risk of a herpes transmission is usage of suppressive therapy as it would not only reduce the severity of herpes symptoms but also the amount of viral shedding. This method is said to be very useful, particularly in combination with effective use of barriers such as a condom.
Another way of reducing a herpes infection is to abstain from having sex in the event of an outbreak. It has been scientifically proven that this is the time when the highest amount of virus is active in the body. However, it cannot be ridiculed that viral shedding also takes place when there are no symptoms of the infection visible to the naked eye. It is this nature of the herpes viruses that have made the so dangerous.
All in all, it can be said that regardless of what risk reduction techniques you’ve been applying, using a condom would only complement your efforts. For maximum benefit, it is advised you use a condom or any other barrier every time to get physically intimate as it would reduce your chances of contracting the infection.
It is to be borne in mind that the herpes infection is incurable and once you’re affected with it, you have it forever. Barriers should also be used for oral sex as genital herpes can be spread to the mouth and cold sores also have the tendency of affecting the genitalia. As a matter of fact, scientists have discovered that a majority of genital herpes cases over the last 5 years have been caused by the HSV – 1, owing to the ignorance of people.
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