It’s sad but true. More than half of all sexually active people will have some form of an STI in their lifetime. The World Health Organization recently revealed that more than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 (that’s 67% of the world’s population) have one particular virus, herpes.
So what’s the deal? Let’s get to know the two types of herpes:
- HSV-1, which can cause those pesky and often painful cold sores on your mouth and is primarily transmitted through mouth to mouth contact. (This is the most common type.)
- HSV-2, which manifests itself as sores in the genital and anal region and is transmitted through sexual acts where skin touches skin.
Both categories of herpes may cause itching, pain, discharge, and flu-like symptoms, but often knowing whether you or someone else has herpes can be tricky because many people don’t show any symptoms at all.
That’s why it’s so important to KNOW YOUR STATUS. If you are sexually active, get tested regularly. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be detected through blood tests. Herpes is easy to diagnose and treat with anti-viral drugs. There is no cure, though.
So, how can you avoid getting herpes?
Avoid having vaginal, anal or oral sex. If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances: stay in a monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and knows their status, and use latex condoms. But be aware: herpes outbreaks can occur in areas that are NOT covered by a condom, so condoms may not fully protect you.
Herpes can be controlled and managed easily as long as you stay aware of your health and the health of your sexual partners. Be smart and don’t be afraid to keep an open dialogue with your sexual partner. If you need free condoms, click here to find a health center near you.