If there is one resolution I would like to see, it’s the commitment to practicing safe sex in 2009. It is obvious from all the questions being posted on the site that lots of you take chances. There’s the “I won’t get it this time,” “the odds are with me that one time with no condom can’t possibly end with herpes,” “I trust this guy (gal) and they would tell me if I need to be careful.” Or maybe you have another way of justifying sexual freedom with zero precautions on a regular, everytime or occasional basis.
The reality is that the only tools currently available for protecting oneself are (a) using a condom every time (b) not having any kind of sexual acitvity in the face of a frank outbreak © having your partner take** acyclovir** if he (she) has herpes (d) knowing as much of your partner’s sexual history as you can. The odds for single heterosexual and homosexual individuals is that you will encounter romantic partners with the disease. You will also encounter people who don’t know that they have herpes. Unfortunately, you will also encounter people who lie about their herpes.
Herpes is not a death sentence. It is however a virus with serious implications, namely a heightened risk of complications should you also get AIDS, an obstacle for safe vaginal deliveries and frankly, more frequent outbreaks when you suffer stress and other debilitating conditions. Herpes should not be shared if possible. Herpes is indeed an ongoing challenge to your sexual health but it does not have to be your fact of life if you follow a motto of -
1- Always use a condom
2- Know the person you are with…really know them
3- Consider asking your partner with herpes to use an anti-vral medication
4- Ask you partner to be tested for herpes before having consensual sex
5- If you are female see a gynecologist yearly for a PAP smear and check up for STDs. If you are a male you can see a urologist or a general health practitioner for a check up and testing.
Known as The HealthGal, expert contributor Amy Hendel is a popular medical and lifestyle reporter, nutrition and fitness expert, columnist, and brand ambassador, as well as a health coach. Trained as a physician assistant, she maintains a health coach private practice in New York and Los Angeles. Author of The Four Habits of Healthy Families, you can find her on Twitter @HealthGal1103 and on Facebook at TheHealthGal. Her personal mantra is “Fix it first with food, fitness, and lifestyle.”