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How can you reduce the risk of passing genital herpes to your partner?

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You can reduce the risk to your partner by having sex only when you have no symptoms. However, since the virus can still be contagious without any noticeable symptoms, you should always use a latex condom. A condom does not completely eliminate the risk, because it may not cover an affected area, but it does offer some protection.

There is some evidence that antiviral drugs acyclovir (Zovirax), Valtrex, and Famvir, which curb symptoms, may also protect against transmission.

SOURCES:  Fleming, et al. New England Journal of Medicine; October 16, 1997. American Social Health Association. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. MEDLINEplus Medical Encyclopedia. CDC. WebMD Medical News: "Herpes Virus Linked to Cervical Cancer." Warren, T., Warren, R. The Updated Herpes Handbook., 2002, pp. 23-24. WebMD Medical News: "Genital Herpes Treatment Cuts Spread."

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson on November 10, 2018

SOURCES:  Fleming, et al. New England Journal of Medicine; October 16, 1997. American Social Health Association. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. MEDLINEplus Medical Encyclopedia. CDC. WebMD Medical News: "Herpes Virus Linked to Cervical Cancer." Warren, T., Warren, R. The Updated Herpes Handbook., 2002, pp. 23-24. WebMD Medical News: "Genital Herpes Treatment Cuts Spread."

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson on November 10, 2018

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Can a pregnant woman pass genital herpes to her baby?

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