Being infected with herpes does not mean it’s time to end your dating life. You can live happily and safely with your partner. Many people choose to be single with herpes fearing that they may transfer the disease to their uninfected partner.
There are many people infected with the disease in the world and most of them do not know even know it. Some couples have lived together for years without infecting each other.
We are going to look at how the disease can be transmitted between dating couples. We are also going to see how people who are dating with herpes can prevent transmission between themselves. But first, let us remind ourselves what herpes is all about.
Herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. It is a chronic condition and once infected there is no way to eliminate the virus from the body. Symptoms are more severe in the early stages of infection. The virus becomes dormant most of the times but can constantly be reactivated.
It is caused by two types of herpes simplex viruses: HSV-1 (Herpes Type 1) and HSV-2 (Herpes Type 2). HSV-1 is the most common and it causes oral herpes. It also causes genital herpes through oral-genital contact. HSV-2 causes genital herpes.
Common symptoms include genital blisters, mouth sores, fever, muscle aches, headache and swollen lymph nodes. There may also be irritation, itching and burning in other parts of the skin.
Infection while Dating
So how can people who are dating with herpes infect each other? There are several ways.
1. Vaginal or anal sex – This is the most common ways the disease is transmitted. It happens in two ways. First is when the skin comes into contact with a partner’s infected parts and then through fluids that are exchanged during intercourse.
2. Oral Sex – Oral sex transfers herpes in several ways. First, if a person has cold sores and they perform oral sex, then they will transfer the cold sore to the genital which now becomes genital herpes. If a person has genital herpes and you perform oral sex on them, then you will get cold sores.
3. Kissing – Kissing can transfer cold sores to your partner but it cannot transfer genital herpes. The cold sore virus is only found in the saliva of people who usually have facial cold sores.
4. Sex toys – Using toys that have been used by an infected partner is also likely to infect you with the virus. This is also a risky way as the virus doesn’t need to be active to be transferred.
Prevention while Dating
There is no medication that can get rid of the virus but doctors usually prescribe an antiviral. What these drugs do is just to suppress the virus and prevent it from multiplying. Even if you are taking these drugs you can still infect your partner. So what should you do?
Use condoms – If you are dating you can still have sex but there should not be any sexual contact. For a man, the condom should be put on the penis before it touches the partner’s genital skin. A female condom is usually recommended as it covers a larger area. Take note that if the virus is active in areas that are not covered by the condom, then the risk of transmission is still high.
Avoid skin-to-skin contact – Any cuddling or display of affection should be void of any skin contact especially when the virus is active. You can still have sex but make sure the infected parts are not touching your partner. For example, when you have mouth sores you can still have genital sex as long as you don’t engage in oral sex.
Avoid triggering factors – These are things that trigger outbreaks and enhance symptoms, increasing the risk of infection. They include stress, extreme weather, skin friction, alcohol, lack of sleep, tiredness, some illnesses, long sunlight exposure and trauma.
Testing – It is always good to go to the doctor and check whether one of you has the virus. The majority of people who transmit herpes are people who are not aware that they have it. If you are aware of your infection it means that you will know the symptoms that indicate when it is active and therefore you will avoid having sex or will have sex with more caution. If you are already infected, it is good to go with your partner as they may have a different herpes virus that they can transmit to you.