WHAT IS HERPES?
Herpes is a virus that causes painful or itchy cluster of blisters, bumps, ulcers, and rashes on the vagina, penis, butt-hole (anus), and even the mouth. Herpes is spread through skin to skin contact. So even condoms do not protect you completely from Herpes. The condom does not cover all of the skin, so if you touch one of the sores with any part of your body you are at risk of developing herpes. (This includes your mouth!!!)
The CDC estimates that approximately 1 million people are infected each year. Experts estimate that genital herpes affects up to 60 million people, or one in five Americans over the age of 12. Nearly 85% of the people who have it, do not even know that they are infected.
The sores will appear, go away, and then come back again. Even if you do not see any sores, once you get herpes, you will always have it. This means that you can pass it on to your sexual partner. This also means that even though you cannot see the sores on someone else’s genitals, you can still be infected!!
There are medications your doctor can give you to try to stop the painful sores from coming out. But you can never get rid of the herpes virus. This is one reason to keep the lights on when you have sex.
Before you touch any part and before you let any part touch you, you should look closely for any sores or ulcers. Keep in mind that the absence of a sore does not mean that the person is herpes-free.
Oh yeah, and if you see something that doesn’t quite look right, think twice if someone says, “I was born with that.” Stop immediately, go with your partner to the doctor and wait until the results are back before you believe that their spots are actually “moles.” You’ll be happy you waited!