Can I have unprotected sex during periods of NON activity with genital herpes?

by Steve
(Manchester , England)

I am a male who suffers infrequent bouts of genital herpes because I am on a daily maintenance because of Acyclovir. It is accurate to say that stress brings about an "outbreak". Generally, when I'm feeling relaxed in my life I have no symptoms at all. I am about to engage in an important new heterosexual relationship. Question: am I safe to have unprotected sex whilst NOT suffering an outbreak?


Dear Steve,

Indeed, the number one factor that can trigger an outbreak is stress so kudos to you for consistently taking your antiviral medication. By taking action you are helping your body suppress the virus and tremendously reduce the risk of transmission. Your sexual partner will feel much safer and more comfortable being intimate with you.

It is recommended to always practice safe sex because even without the visible signs and symptoms of a herpes virus outbreak, the virus can still creep towards the skin surface and shed. Taking medication will only lessen the risk but will not eliminate it. Whatever you do, abstain from sex when sores and blisters are present. Due to the virus’s highly contagious nature, direct skin to skin contact with the active sores can immediately pass the virus on to them.

In the end, it’s up to the discretion of the couple with the level of risk they are willing to take. It is important to be honest and open to them about your condition though. They have the right to make an informed decision from the start. Follow some of these Guidelines for Giving "The Talk" and it won’t be so terrifying.

Genital herpes does not have to be an obstacle. Millions of people in the world have herpes and they continue loving and living their lives to the fullest. Those of us who have had Genital Herpes for many years find that it just becomes more of an "inconvenience" more than a barrier. Your sex life is not over. You just have a new one beginning.

Hope this helps!



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