Patients who are suffering from herpes may have painful and bothersome sores around the mouth or lips, or around their genitals. Taking special precautions against herpes may help patients avoid contracting themselves or spreading herpes to others. Patients who have herpes or who are unsure if have herpes are encouraged to consult a licensed physician for diagnosis and to discuss treatment options.

Herpes Simplex 1 & 2

Herpes is caused by herpes simplex 1 and herpes simplex 2. These viruses may be spread through intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, kissing and by sharing personal items such as toothbrushes, eating utensils, etc. Herpes simplex 1 usually causes cold sores around the lips and mouth, while herpes simplex 2 usually causes genital herpes. However, it is important to understand that either virus may cause herpes in either location.

Avoiding Sexual Risks

Avoid sexual contact with individuals who have herpes. Ask your sexual partners if they have any sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like herpes. If they answer yes, do not have sexual intercourse, oral sex or anal sex with that person, or take the proper precautions to reduce your risk of contracting herpes by using a condom. Condoms are thought to reduce the risk of spreading and contracting herpes, although studies are still being conducted to determine how effective condoms are at preventing the spread of herpes. Talk to a doctor for more information on this subject. Of course, not everybody will be truthful regarding their STDs, so always practice safe sex to reduce the risk of contracting an STD. The only way to completely avoid contracting herpes through sexual contact is to avoid sexual contact with infected individuals.

Avoiding Other Risks

Sharing eating utensils or drinking from the same cup as an individual with herpes on the mouth may also increase your risk of herpes. Also avoid sharing a toothbrush, makeup and other personal items with individuals who have herpes. Talk to your doctor for more tips on avoiding herpes.

Herpes and HIV

Individuals with herpes may be at an increased risk of HIV. If the HIV virus contacts herpes sores, the risk of HIV is high. People with both herpes and HIV may experience further problems, symptoms and complications and should be discussed with a doctor. Wearing a condom may reduce this risk, although patients should consult a physician regarding the effectiveness of condoms in reducing the risk of HIV, herpes and other sexually transmitted diseases. Talk to your doctor for more tips for preventing herpes, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.