What's the Safer Sex Info About Herpes and Cold Sores
What is Safe Sex?
Herpes is not an infection that people can necessarily prevent themselves getting or passing on because most people are unaware they have it. So getting herpes is more a matter of learning about it and managing it.
However there are measures you can take to reduce the chances of getting herpes and protect yourself against other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
General routine precautions throughout your sexual life will ensure you protect you and your partner(s) sexual health.
Safe sex means taking precautions to protect yourself and your partner against getting an STI or having an unwanted pregnancy.
STIs are very common and most people who have an STI may be unaware they are infected and therefore could infect a partner unwittingly.
Sexual activity involves close skin to skin contact and the exchanging of bodily fluids making it easy to pass on an STI .
Safe sex is about caring for your and your partner(s) body by reducing the chance of passing infections to each other while still being able to enjoy any sort of sexual activity. In fact, sex is far more pleasurable when you're not worrying about STIs, safe in the knowledge you have taken suitable precautions.
How Do I Have Safer Sex?
Use condoms. With any new or casual partner always use condoms if you have vaginal, anal or oral sex. (Always have your own supply and check the expiry dates before use.)
Having sex play without intercourse can be even safer sex.
Have regular sexual health checks. Click here for a clinic near you.
If you are in a long term committed relationship and not having sex with anyone else, and want to stop using condoms, it is a good idea to discuss this and both get an STI check to ensure you are free of infections (an STI check does not test for all STIs) and make the decision together.
Have sex when you are emotionally and physically ready.
Avoid being so drunk or high that your judgement is affected.
Remember that safe sex is the responsibility of all parties involved.
Remember anybody can have an infection and not have symptoms.
Do not have sex with anyone who has symptoms e.g. pain on urinating, discharge or lesions or blisters until they have been tested.
Use water-based lubricant with condoms when you have sex.
Ensure you know if you have immunity against Hepatitis.
If you have a history of sexual or other abuse and you feel this affects your ability to be safe, seek help from a therapist or staff at a sexual health clinic to help you.
The Guidelines are produced by considering available literature, both New Zealand wide and international, and by basing the medical recommendations on the evidence in the literature or reasonable supposition and opinions of medical experts.