Using condoms during sexual intercourse significantly decreases the likelihood that men infected with herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) will transmit the infection to their female partners, according to the first study to examine the effectiveness of condoms in preventing this infection. Women are almost six times as likely as men to acquire HSV-2. Increased frequency of sexual intercourse, younger age and having a partner who is infected with both herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and HSV-2 increase the likelihood of acquiring HSV-2. Although using condoms more than 25% of the time offers women a high degree of protection against acquiring HSV-2, men do not receive the same benefits. To assess whether using condoms reduces the transmission of HSV-2, researchers analyzed behavioral and demographic data from participants in two multisite HSV vaccine trials conducted in the mid-1990s. The study included adults who, at enrollment, tested negative for both HSV-2 and HIV ("susceptible partners"), and had been involved in a monogamous relationship for at least six months with an individual infected with HSV-2 ("source partners"). Susceptible partners were interviewed during an initial screening, where they were instructed to keep a diary of their sexual activity for the duration of the study. Since genital herpes (HSV-2) is sexually transmitted, safer sex practices can go a long way in preventing both infection and transmission. Cold sores, or oral herpes (HSV-1), can be harder to prevent, as they are usually spread by casual contact, though there are strategies that can help. If you are already infected with a herpes simplex virus, you can also reduce the frequency of symptomatic recurrences. While no one wants herpes, it is especially important to prevent oral or genital HSV infections if you have an immune deficiency. These conditions can be more severe if your immune system is not functioning as it should. If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, you should be vigilant about preventing genital HSV infection because it can be transmitted to your baby during vaginal delivery, potentially causing serious problems. While the prevention of genital herpes may be on your mind if you or a partner have already been diagnosed, anyone who is sexually active should be mindful of the risk of transmission, especially since many people with HSV-2 have no symptoms at all.
This content has not been reviewed within the past year and may not represent Web MD's most up-to-date information. To find the most current information, please enter your topic of interest into our search box. " July 13, 2009 -- Condom use reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of contracting genital herpes, according to a new review of research. Researchers found consistent condom users have about a 30% lower risk of contracting genital herpes than those who never used condoms. While earlier studies have shown that consistent condom use can substantially reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), their effectiveness at preventing the spread of herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) is less certain. HSV-2 is the virus that typically causes genital herpes, a lifelong viral infection. Transmission of HSV-2 is mainly from skin contact in areas that may not be covered by a condom. Dear Alice, I am a gay man, and my on-again, off-again boyfriend has genital herpes on his anus. He currently takes Valtrex to manage his symptoms (his outbreaks occur about once or twice a year). I love him and want to continue our relationship, but I also want to protect myself. Would taking Valtrex (or some other viral suppressing drug) reduce the chances of transmitting the disease to me? Dear Reader, Knowing your partner's sexual health status is essential to maintaining your own sexual health — so kudos to the both of you for connecting on a potentially sensitive subject! Valacyclovir (brand name: Valtrex) is an anti-viral drug approved for treating or managing a variety of conditions caused by viruses in the herpes family, including chickenpox, cold sores, and genital herpes. In the case of genital herpes specifically, valacyclovir is prescribed to help reduce the pain and duration of an outbreak, as well as decrease the number of outbreaks a person experiences over time.
I started dating someone about a month ago and she decided to tell me that she has HSV 2. I was glad she was open to tell me about this however it worried me that I would possibly contract the virus if we had sex. Thankfully she is on Valtrex and she takes it daily. About a week and a half ago we decided to finally have sex. I used a condom and she had no visible symptoms or lesions on her. Literally the next day I had pain in my testicles and also an itchy feeling around the Testicles and growing region. This has been going on since and also some mild irritation while going to the bathroom. Yesterday May 14 at the irrepressible Holiday Inn in historic (3 strip store malls & a Holiday Inn) Gaithersburg, Maryland the FDA Anitiviral Drug Advisory Committee met for the second time in two days, this time to consider approval of Glaxo Smith Kline's Valtrex (aka Valcyclovir) for use "to reduce the risk of transmission of genital herpes with the use of suppressive therapy and safer sex practices at the dose of 500 mg once daily". The Committee voted 11-0 unanimously to recommend approval to the FDA. GSK conducted an 8 month international study for this approval and the study showed that using 500 mg of Valtrex once daily resulted in a 75% reduction in transmission of symptomatic genital herpes infection, and also showed a 48% reduction in the acquisition asymptomatic acquisition of herpes-2 documented by HSV-2 seroconversion during the study. 4 of 743 (0.5%) study participants who received Valcyclovir (Valtrex) developed symptomatic HSV-2 acquisition compared to 16 of 741 (2.2%) study participants who received placebo in the study (p-value: 0.007). Acquisition of asymptomatic HSV-2 occurred in 14 of 743 (1.9%) persons receiving Valtrex 500 mg once daily compared to 27 of 741 (3.6%) persons receiving placebo who acquired asymptomatic HSV-2 (p-value: 0.038). Men were less likely in the study to develop symptomatic genital herpes: 4.1% of females receiving placebo vs 1.2% of men; 0.8% of females receiving Valtrex vs 0.4% of men receiving Valtrex. Having HSV-1 may provide a protective effect from developing symptomatic genital herpes. For study participants receiving placebo having HSV-1 did not reduce the risk for transmission, 2.2% of persons who were HSV-1 negative vs 2.1% of persons who were HSV-1 positive developed symptomatic genital herpes. But for persons receiving Valtrex 0.9% of persons who were HSV-1 negative developed symptomatic genital herpes compared to 0.4% of persons who were HSV-1 positive.
Jul 25, 2018. Condoms are the best way to prevent transmission. Suppressive therapy with a valacyclovir 500 mg pill once daily is beneficial in decreasing. May 9, 2015. At the time I was on a daily course of Valtrex, also known as suppressive therapy, to lessen the risk of transmission. But condoms felt symbolic.