Herpes Myths – Kiss and Do Tell!

By Dr. Drai
By Dr. Drai


You ladies are still confused about GENITAL HERPES – so let’s clear up- no pun intended- some myths. Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2). Yes you read it correctly; HSV-1 (typically associated with cold sores) can also cause genital herpes. In the US, about 776,000 people get new herpes infections yearly. It’s more common in women because transmission from an infected male to his female partner is more likely-Kudos for the lesbians! Most people have no symptoms-meaning no sores but others will get blisters on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth, which will turn into painful sores. Genital herpes is transmitted though sex- anal, vaginal, or oral and mouth-to-genital or genital-to-genital contact. Unlike HPV, Herpes is found in genital secretions and mouth secretions as well. There’s a small risk of herpes to be passed to your unborn child; different topic- we will save that for another day!

The Diagnosis

I diagnose genital herpes in the office by looking for lesions during an outbreak and then I take a culture from the sore to test for it. Ladies- remember there’s NO CURE. You will always have herpes! Medications can be prescribed to prevent or shorten outbreaks. Daily medication use-suppressive therapy-can lower the likelihood of passing herpes to your partner. Consistent condom use can lower the risk of transmission of herpes.

Kiss and Do Tell!

Here’s the real problem- outbreaks can occur in areas that are not covered by a condom AND this virus is so sneaky that it may be present in these uncovered areas even if sores are NOT visible.


You can reduce your risk by not having sex at all- NOT GOING TO HAPPEN- or being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship. Remember, 1 in 6 people aged 14 to 49 has genital herpes! So be careful- if you get genital herpes or if you already have it, it’s okay to KISS but you must tell your partner BEFORE having sex. By the way, there’s dating websites for people with herpes- GOOGLE it!

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