Unfortunately, yes. You can still get herpes (and some other STDs) when using a condom, although some are more likely than others.
When used correctly, condoms do a good job at preventing fluids from being swapped from one partner to another which decreases the likelihood you would spread STDs like HIV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, or Trichomoniasis. Unfortunately, many STDs (like Herpes / HSV) are spread from skin to skin contact, not just from the transmission of bodily fluids.
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) can cause genital lesions and/or oral lesions. HSV can never be “cured” and the virus will be present even if you have no symptoms. In fact, many people infected with HSV have no symptoms.
It is commonly believed that you cannot catch herpes from your partner if they are not having a “flare up.” That is unfortunately not the case. While less likely when they do not have any sores, you are still able to get herpes at any time from an infected partner.
Medication is the best way to lessen the chances of getting HSV from an infected partner. If they are taking an anti-retroviral medication, transmission is less likely.
Other STDs that are most likely to be contracted even when using a condom include:
• HPV (human papillomavirus)
• Public Lice/Crabs
• Molluscum Contagiosum
It is important to also remember that other STDs such as HIV, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea can still be transmitted when using a condom, especially if the condom is not used correctly. If a condom breaks, slips off, is only used part of the time, or is applied inside out and then applied the correct way, STDs are more likely to be spread from one partner to another.
Routine screening for Herpes (HSV) is not recommended; however, if you are symptomatic or suspect infection, you should definitely be examined.
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