Genital herpes cannot be cured, but it can be treated. Antiviral medications are available to help reduce the symptoms of genital herpes and decrease the number of recurrences. These antiviral medications include acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir. Valacyclovir can also be used to reduce the risk of transmitting herpes to your sex partner(s). It should be used in combination with safer sex. You should discuss the value of using antiviral medications with your physician.
Here are some suggestions if you have, or think you may have, a first episode of genital herpes:
If you have your first episode of herpes during pregnancy, consult your physician as soon as possible about what you can do to reduce your baby's risk of infection. Take care of yourself by giving yourself time to heal, treating any other infections, and treating your herpes.
It is hard to learn and figure out everything all at once, but the answers will come. Your ability to cope and your methods for coping will also evolve. Speak to your doctor about how to cope with herpes and reduce the risk of passing the infection on to your sex partner(s).
With recurrent herpes, it is important to fully understand the active phases of infection so you can avoid contact when necessary. It is also important to use safer sex precautions, such as condoms and dental dams, for the prevention of herpes and other sexually transmitted infections. Since people can spread the herpes virus even when they have no noticeable symptoms, it's important to take these precautions at all times. It's important to know that condoms don't provide complete protection from herpes, since they don't always cover all affected skin.
If you are facing issues such as loneliness and the fear of discussing herpes with new partners, keep in mind that these are very common issues and that frustrations can be overcome through a commitment to yourself and to your ability to grow from this experience. In addition, you may wish to have treatment for recurrent herpes. People with recurrent genital herpes now have choices to make regarding antiviral treatment for control of the infection. Talk to your doctor about medications that might help treat your symptoms, reduce the number of outbreaks, or reduce your risk of passing on herpes to your sex partner(s).
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