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Sexually Transmitted Diseases – Genital Herpes and Lifestyle Tips

If you have herpes and plan to become sexually active with someone new, you owe it to them and to yourself to be honest about your own infection. You can spread the infection even if your virus is inactive and you don’t have open sores. Try practicing counting on a trusted friend or in front of a mirror. And keep calm. Keep your words simple and clear, and be prepared to answer any questions.

In general, people with herpes find that with time and a better understanding of the disease, it becomes easier to tell new partners. They also discover that herpes doesn’t affect their intimate relationships and sex life as much as they originally feared. Unprotected sex is not a guarantee of protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Most sexually transmitted diseases can be spread through sex.

To protect yourself, make sure your partner uses a condom if you have sex; if he is having sex with you or if you are having sex with a woman, use a condom. You can get them at some medical supply stores. They provide a barrier during sex. The best protection against any type of sexually transmitted disease is a latex condom. However, it does not provide 100 percent protection against STDs, only abstinence does. If you use a condom, make sure you use it correctly. Human error causes more condom failures than manufacturing errors. Use a new condom with each sexual act. Handle it carefully so as not to damage it with your nails, teeth or other sharp objects.

Use only water-based lubricants with latex condoms. Ensure adequate lubrication during intercourse. No one tests screens for all STDs. Some require a vaginal exam and Pap smear; others a blood or urine test. Just because you have a negative test doesn’t mean you don’t have the disease. Chlamydia, for example, can travel up your reproductive tract, so your healthcare provider can’t get a culture. Or your body may not have developed enough antibodies against a virus such as HIV or HPV to show up in a blood test.

Still, it’s important to ask your health care professional to test you regularly for STDs if you’re sexually active in a non-monogamous relationship (or if you have the slightest concern about your partner’s fidelity). You can get tested at your health department, community clinic, private doctor, or family planning. While some STDs can present with symptoms such as sores or discharge, most unfortunately do not have symptoms.

Women are even more likely than men to have an STD without symptoms. Women are also more likely to develop serious complications from STDs. You can’t always tell if you or your partner have an STD just by looking. Don’t rely on your partner’s self-report and assume that it will prevent you from getting an STD; many infected people do not know they have a problem. They may think the symptoms are caused by something else, such as yeast infections, friction from sexual intercourse, or allergies. Educate yourself about your own body, and in turn, learn about your own individual risk of contracting an STD. One way to do this is to schedule an exam with a health care provider who can sit down with you and help you learn the principles of staying safe and sexually healthy.

Don’t let fear, shame or ignorance jeopardize your future. Sexually transmitted diseases are particularly common among adolescents. And it is an issue that worries children. Parents can play an important role in their teen’s behavior, both in terms of the behavior you model and in terms of the communication between you and your teen. Make sure your daughter has regular visits with a competent gynecologist and that your son sees a medical professional who specializes in adolescent health at least once a year, even if it’s just to discuss STDs and pregnancy. And she talks to your children. Study after study shows that when parents talk to their children about sexual issues, their children listen. Don’t worry that talking about sex is the same as approving it; Hundreds of studies challenge that theory.

In fact, studies show that when parents talk about sex, children are more likely to talk about it themselves, delay their first sexual experiences, and protect themselves against pregnancy and disease when they do have sex. Unfortunately, there is no known “cure” for herpes. The use of condoms is recognized as the most reliable method of preventing transmission of the virus. However, there are effective treatments that can reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks, stop viral replication, and reduce viral load, all of which greatly mitigate outbreaks and allow patients to manage the condition.

Acyclovir is the most popular drug prescribed for herpes. However, the emergence of aciclovir-resistant virus strains has created a need to develop new effective antiviral agents. New antiherpetic chemical drug compounds have been identified, but they have significant adverse effects when consumed and HSV has re-developed resistance to these new compounds.

As new chemical drug options are not feasible, alternative antiviral options are being investigated with great interest. Recent scientific studies of medicinal antiviral plant extracts show very encouraging results and have led to a new methodology for the treatment of herpes. Studies of these antiviral extracts show that many of these compounds exhibit significant antiherpetic activity. Several actually inactivate HSV with great efficiency. These antiviral extracts represent new effective treatment options for therapeutic use as virucidal agents for recurrent herpes infections.

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