PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
The suggestions for preventing genital herpes are the same as those for preventing other sexually transmitted infections. The key is to avoid being infected with HSV, which is highly contagious while lesions are present. The best way to prevent infection is to abstain from sexual activity or to limit sexual contact to only one person who is infection-free. Short of that, you can:
- Use, or have your partner use, a latex condom during each sexual contact
- Limit the number of sex partners
- Avoid intercourse if either partner has an outbreak of herpes in the genital area or anywhere else
If you're pregnant, be sure to tell your doctor that you have genital herpes or, if you're unsure, ask to be tested for it. Your doctor may recommend that you start taking herpes antiviral medications late in pregnancy to try to prevent an outbreak from occurring around the time of delivery. If you're having an outbreak when you go into labor, your doctor will probably suggest a cesarean section to reduce the risk of passing the virus to your baby.
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