Sex education shouldn’t be thought of as a one-time task that you need to cross off a checklist. Instead, part of the responsibility that goes along with being a sexually active teen or adult is you need to stay aware of safe sex best practices. Since a big part of accomplishing that goal is not being afraid to ask questions, this post has answers to some of those that may be on your mind:
How Safe are Condoms?
Condoms play a huge role in making safe sex possible. That being said, condoms are not perfect. Not only can they break and tear, but many people assume condoms provide forms of protection that they actually don’t. Even when condoms are used exactly as intended, pregnancy still occurs 2% of the time. Because condoms do have shortcomings, it’s important to use them in conjunction with other best practices like birth control pills and having a completely open dialog with your partner.
Can Herpes Be Spread Through Kissing?
Yes and no. Properly answering this question requires clearing up a common misconception. If you get a cold sore on your lip, it’s called herpes. However, the herpes that affects people’s mouths isn’t the same as what can cause an outbreak on their genitals. Oral herpes is called type 1, while genital herpes is called type 2. They can also be referred to HSV-1 or HSV-2 for short. If you kiss someone who has HSV-1, you can get it. But since around 80% of adults have HSV-1, this isn’t generally thought of as a serious issue. If you just kiss someone who has HSV-2, you can’t get it from them. It is important to note that herpes type 2 can be transmitted via oral sex.
What Happens If You Get Herpes?
If you find out you have HSV-2, the first to know is that you’re not alone. Approximately twenty percent of the US adult population has this disease. Because it’s more common than most people realize, it’s definitely not the end of the world. However, contracting it does mean that you need to be conscious of two very important things.
First, you need to take care of yourself and your health. While you can’t control herpes outbreaks, you can treat them with a solution like Acyclovir. More commonly known as Zovirax cream, this treatment can help you lessen the severity and duration of an outbreak. Talk to your doctor to find out if it’s right for you. Second, you need to be a responsible sexual partner. In addition to telling partners about your condition prior to sex, always use a condom. Just be aware that if an outbreak is present on an area that’s not covered or protected by a condom, you can still transmit the disease to a partner.
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