A partner who has genital herpes needs support and acceptance. It took a lot of courage for your partner to tell you, and it means he or she cares about your well-being and values your trust. "No good deed goes unpunished" is often a harsh fact of life. But don't let it be that way in the relationship.
Of course, your feelings and concerns matter, too. If you're uncomfortable with the idea of having sex with your partner again, or becoming sexually intimate for the first time, you're entitled to...
Use home treatment, such as taking warm
sitz baths and wearing cotton underwear, to promote
healing of herpes sores. For more information, see the Home Treatment section
of this topic.
Take steps to prevent the spread of genital herpes.
These include avoiding any sexual contact if you or your partner have symptoms
or are being treated for genital herpes. For more information, see the
Prevention section of this topic.
Antiviral medicine may reduce the time it takes a first
outbreak to heal. The medicine also decreases the number of days you can spread
the virus (are contagious).
Taking antiviral medicine for the
primary genital herpes outbreak does not prevent genital herpes outbreaks from
The decision to take
antiviral medicines for recurrent outbreaks of
genital herpes depends on how long the outbreaks last,
how severe they are, and how often they return. People who do not have frequent
or severe outbreaks may not want to take medicine on a regular basis.
Antiviral medicines reduce the time it takes for genital herpes sores to
heal and helps prevent some outbreaks. Antiviral medicines have the added
benefit of reducing the possibility that people can transmit HSV to their sex
People can take antiviral medicine for recurrent
outbreaks of genital herpes in one of these ways:
Every day. Some people take antiviral
medicine every day to help reduce the risk of recurrent outbreaks and reduce
how long a recurrent outbreak lasts. Antiviral medicine may reduce the number
of outbreaks by about one or two episodes a year.
As needed. Some
people take antiviral medicine when they first notice the prodromal symptoms
(tingling and pain) of a recurrent outbreak. To be effective, a medicine taken
only for 2 or 3 days must be used at higher doses than when the medicine is
taken every day.
A study has shown that an HSV-infected person in a
heterosexual, single-partner (monogamous) relationship who takes valacyclovir
daily to prevent recurrent outbreaks reduces by about half the risk of
infecting his or her partner.2 Other antiviral
medicines may also reduce transmission, but further study is needed.