Anti-virals like Valtrex and Zovirax and Acyclovir are a God-send for many …. and as someone who got Herpes before all these things were available, I know that they have helped many to get through the early stages post-diagnosis and have helped to give H+ partners something to help to protect their partners from getting the virus. But not everyone wants to take medication … and there are those who just don’t do well on them. I see a lot of questions about how to protect partners without taking the meds …. so here’s a list of the most useful and best known things that you can do to reduce the risk of passing it on.
- Condoms – reduce the risk by 50% … but that number depends a LOT on where your OB’s are. So if your OB’s are on the boxer shorts area, don’t rely on them to protect your partner (but you should still use them to protect YOU from getting anything else!)
- No sex with ANY knicks/cuts/irritation present on you or your partner. IE: if you have any breaks in skin, it’s *possible* that the virus could get into your partner’s system. This may sound “bad” but you can just look at those times as an excuse to explore other ways to get yer freak on, so it can be a GOOD thing too 😉
- Shaving/waxing: There’s a school of thought that H has increased with the advent of shaving, and there’s good reason to believe that there’s some substance in the thought. Shaving/waxing can create micro-cuts/tears/irritations to the skin which in the H+ carrier can bring on OB’s (and thus possibly induce asymptomatic shedding as well) and in the H- partner, it can create an open door to the nerves which host the virus. Also, when both partners have a “full bush” that would create a “buffer” of sorts from any areas that are shedding. So if you are a shaver, perhaps you might at the very least want to go to using a trimmer/electric shaver that doesn’t irritate the skin, or perhaps the depilatory creams that are out there.
- Be sure to use plenty of lube and be cautious with rough sex … esp if it leaves you a bit raw…. which can trigger an outbreak.
- Try to keep stress levels down.. H LOVES stress!
- Vitamin B-12: Medical research in England found that many people with cold sores were low in B12. Studies found that by adding 250 mcg. of B12 the condition improved rapidly. This research also suggested taking B complex supplements with emphasis on the B12 and folic acid. It follows that this could well help to reduce OB’s and/or shedding for genital HSV2 … it certainly won’t hurt anything and you might find that you at least have more energy!
- Take L-Lysine supplements – for *some*, this reduces OB’s significantly so it likely would reduce shedding as well (though you will never know for sure).
- Use H as a good reason to learn other ways to be intimate. Tantric sex requires no insertion at all and can be VERY hot. Use role play and toys and porn and whatever else works for the pair of you … this can open up a whole world that you might miss if you never had to consider alternatives to “vanilla sex” 🙂
So you can see that there’s a TON of ways to protect your partner … and the bottom line is that a life well lived entails some risk of things “going wrong”. You get in your car every day, take “precautions” (Put on the seat belt, obey road rules, etc) and you could STILL get broadsided and get hurt or killed. So try to see this is a lesson in learning to accept that you don’t have complete control over everything. All you can do is to reduce the risk as best as you can, make sure your partner is well informed and knows the risks, and then get on with life….. 😉
To walk across the street is a risk. Mikhail Baryshnikov
So often I see people beating themselves up for acquiring Herpes. The majority of the time, they were just plain blissfully ignorant about the risks, about the fact that we are not automatically tested for H in the STD panel, or they just plain got caught up in the moment … (Damn Hormomones!!!). Many get HSV1 from oral sex because they didn’t know that cold sores could head South (and their “giver” often didn’t know either and/or didn’t know they had the virus because they got it as a child). Others are told by their partner that they are safe as long as they are not having an outbreak, because that is what their Doctor told them. The vast majority of Herpes transmissions are a result of inaccurate information combined with the fact that 80% of the population has no idea they have H. Then, once they get Herpes, they obsess (understandably) about passing it on. Even when you point out that with anti-virals and condoms, the risk falls to about 1-5% (depending on your gender), they are deathly scared about getting in a relationship and passing the virus on to their new partner. So they vow to either become celibate (also perhaps to punish themselves for being so “stupid”), or to only date someone who has H. The problem is, they have forgotten that if you are living life, you are ALWAYS living with risk. The secret here is that once you are educated, you have the power to reduce that risk to an “acceptable” level. Ignorance, as we H+ folks know all too well, is the cause of the vast majority of new cases of Herpes. The following is something that I tell people all the time who are obsessing on the risk factors of passing Herpes on, or who are beating themselves up for having acquired H. Continue reading Driving Yourself Crazy: A Reality Check About Sex and STD’s
Don’t deny the diagnosis …. try to defy the verdict ~ Norman Cousins
So you just got the call from the doctor …. the one you’ve been dreading to hear for days. Or maybe it was totally unexpected. You just went in for your STD tests as usual and you decided to ask for the Herpes test because you heard that it wasn’t normally included in the STD panel of tests…but you figured it was just going to be another hit to the wallet and nothing more. And you heard those three little words: “You have Herpes”. For many, the world seems to come crashing down in that moment. One moment you are skipping through life, dealing with the day-to-day stuff that is thrown at you (or so you think), and now suddenly, your life as you knew it is OVER … you go from being a wonderfully beautiful person to a dirty, unlovable, disease-ridden person who no one will ever love or want to be with in that instant. Or so you think…… I’m here to tell you that Herpes can actually bring you more and better love than you can ever imagine possible. I know it sounds like I’ve been smoking some really great stuff over here …. but with time, counseling, and a bit of work, you have the chance to change your perspective from one of “my life is over” to “my life is sooo much better than I ever imagined could be possible”. I see it happen time and time again with the people I counsel on the Herpes Opportunity Forums (check them out….it’s the BEST place for support and information). You see, Herpes acts like a magnifying glass on all the crap we have swept under the carpet and ignored. All the things we believe (though we won’t admit it) about being unlovable, not good enough, not pretty enough, etc can come screaming out at you after diagnosis, disguised as the belief that this little virus is completely to blame for everything that doesn’t work in your life from now on. And it’s ALL A LIE that your brain is fabricating because somewhere along the line you bought into the belief, the stigma, that says a STD, especially Herpes, is proof that the person is dirty and “loose”…. someone who you would NEVER associate with. So stop for one moment and look at the facts:
- 80% of the population has Herpes (HSV1 or 2)
- 80% of them don’t know they have it
- 15-20% of the population has Genital Herpes … and 80% of them don’t know it
- HSV1 (cold sores) is now making up 50% of the new Genital Herpes diagnosis … because of the mis-guided belief that HSV1 won’t head south combined with that 80% who are unaware that they even have the “Cold-sore virus”.
- 60% of all young people will have HSV1 by the time they are young adults because kids are walking petri dishes and they love to share all their bugs …. or maybe Auntie Sue kissed them with a cold sore and didn’t know it was highly contagious at that time.
Odds are – several of your friends have Herpes too. Some may not know it…. and some are hiding it from you because they believe you will think less of them if they told you, because THEY bought into the stigma too. For now, be gentle on yourself. Get on the Forum and reach out for support… from a trustworthy friend (who may well tell you they know 3 other people with it!), your family, or counseling. Whatever you do, don’t try to go it alone.
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ~Maya Angelou