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What can I do to protect myself from getting genital herpes?

There are things you can do to lower your risk of getting genital herpes:

Don't have sex. The surest way to prevent any STI, including genital herpes, is to practice abstinence, or not having vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Keep in mind, you can get genital herpes from close contact other than sexual intercourse. Be faithful. Having a sexual relationship with one partner who has been tested for herpes and is not infected is another way to lower your risk of getting infected. Be faithful to each other, meaning that you only have sex with each other and no one else. Use condoms. Use condoms correctly and every time you have any type of sex. For vaginal sex, use a latex male condom or a female polyurethane condom. For anal sex, use a latex male condom. For oral sex, use a dental dam. Keep in mind that condoms may not cover all infected areas, so you can still get herpes even if you use a condom. Know that some methods of birth control, like birth control pills, shots, implants, or diaphragms, will not protect you from STIs. If you use one of these methods, be sure to also use a latex condom or dental dam correctly and every time you have sex. Talk with your sex partner(s) about STIs and using condoms. It's up to you to make sure you are protected. Remember, it's your body! If your partner is infected, take steps to lower your risk of getting herpes from your partner. Talk frankly with your doctor and your sex partner(s) about any STIs you or your partner has or has had. If you feel embarrassed, try to put this aside. Your doctor is there to help you with any and all health problems. Also, being open with your partners can help you protect your health and the health of others. Know the symptoms. Learn the common symptoms of genital herpes and other STIs. Do not have oral-genital contact if you or your partner has any signs of oral herpes, such as a fever blister. Seek medical help right away if you think you may have genital herpes or another STI. Don't have sexual contact until you have seen your doctor.

This answer is based on source information from National Women's Health Information Center.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.