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Preventing herpes outbreak after getting infected

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I am a 24 years old sexually active female. Recently I was diagnosed to have herpes  and it was in my genital areas. A consulted my doctor and he prescribed Valtrex. But he told that there are chances of a re occurrence later, even if I go with medication. I am a married lady and do not wish this to be transmitted to my husband. What can I do to prevent a spread of this infection? Can I go for some medication to prevent the spread? Please help me. I love my husband very much. He will surely insist on having unprotected sex with me, and I will not be having any excuses.

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Category: Family Physician-GP
 22 Doctors Online

Thanks for your question. I am really concerned about your unfortunate situation. As you may know, there are two types of herpes infections. They are Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 and type 2. Of these, HSV type 1 is responsible for facial herpes or oral herpes. It is characterized by cold sores and fever blisters. It is seen in oro facial areas like mouth and those areas covered by mucus membrane. HSV type 2 is associated with genital herpes. It is primarily transmitted through sexual contact with the infected person. A personal contact is enough for the virus to get transmitted. But those infections can co exist and spread by the mode of transmission. That means an oral sex session with a person having genital herpes can cause genital herpes or simply HSV type 2 get infected in facial area of the partner. Moreover a sexual contact is not necessary for HSV type 1 to spread. It can be spread from parents to children through kissing. Also, it can be spread through a crack in skin. In herpes, a recurrence after the first outbreak can be expected every year or a little more or less frequently. However no treatment is found to be effective in eradicating the virus, if it is affected once. Moreover, no treatments are out there to prevent infection or outbreak after an infection. The most dangerous part of the disease is that the infected person need not be aware of the disease and even the donor may not know about the virus which is active in his body. This is because, HSV can stay dormant in human body, without any type of herpes outbreaks, for years.

Treatments include antiviral therapies using acyclovir and Valtrex. However these medicines can only help in suppressing the spread and depth of the infection and not in eradicating the virus. Moreover, any unprotected sex practices with infected people can surely lead to transmission of virus. Even condoms and such barrier methods are not found to be effective in preventing an outbreak. This is because penis or vagina are the only parts which can prevent a skin to skin contact. But any skin to skin genital contact can lead to spread of virus. However, latex condoms are the only preventive method to avoid spread of the disease even if it is not effective. If you had unprotected sex with your husband recently, you might have given the infection to him, even unknowingly. Hope my answer helps. Best of luck.

Dr. John Fuller
Category: Family Physician-GP
MD - New York Institute of Technology, New York College of Osteopathic Medicine
Internship, Family Medicine - Lutheran Medical Center
Residency, Family Medicine - The Mount Sinai Hospital
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