Protecting Partners from Herpes
"I was diagnosed with genital herpes. I can't wear protection as I am skin sensitive to latex. What can I do to protect future partners? If we have oral sex how can I protect him from this virus? I am not on meds for it."
The good news for those allergic to latex: you can wear protection. Because latex allergies are relatively common, there are latex-free-condoms made of polyurethane. Polyurethane condoms come in both male and female forms—the female condom fits inside the vagina and the male polyurethane condom is identical to its latex brother and feels equally great.
Unfortunately, in terms of herpes even wearing a polyurethane condom will not completely 100% protect your partners since herpes can be spread by skin-to-skin contact. Not having skin-to-skin contact during an outbreak of sores is important, since that is the period in which one may be most contagious. It also may be a good idea to speak to a doctor about medication. Acyclovir, a medication for herpes, can reduce the risk of spreading herpes to partners and reduce the number of outbreaks.
For more information about herpes, visit: http://www.sfcityclinic.org/stdbasics/herpes.asp.
To your health,
(Photo: Getty Images)
Dr. K is Jeffrey D. Klausner, MD, MPH, a board-certified internist and infectious disease specialist. Currently, he is a deputy health officer and director of the STD Prevention and Control Services Section at the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice. The information provided should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.