Sore Winner

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Question

Can you recommend a sexual health clinic or someone who can answer some questions my girlfriend and I have? I had a few unprotected encounters with her. I did tell her I had herpes after a few weeks, and she read up on this on the internet and we ceased all sexual activity.

There were things I learned that I was unaware of, like being potentially contagious even if there are no blisters on the penis. I had been nearly 12 years without sexual contact, and before that was with one partner (my ex-​wife) for 10 years. She was fully aware of the situation. I love this new gal so very much. We want to be safe, and she, at all costs, does not want to contract herpes.

Answer

The best way to avoid contracting herpes is to use condoms. If you get sores on the base of you penis and the surrounding area, female condoms offer additional protection. Condoms are currently made of several materials. The ones recommend-ed for protection against STIs are latex, polyurethane and polyisoprene. Many sex shops offer singles for sale so you can try a variety and see which brands and materials you like best.

Sexual health clinics like Hassle Free also offer free condoms in their waiting room along with information about transmission and how to stay healthy to minimize outbreaks.

It is true that herpes can be contracted when you are free of sores; using condoms at all times will provide protection against this possibility.

I would suggest you both make appointments to speak with a doctor and that she also get a Pap smear, if she hasn't had one in a while. There is absolutely no need to go around naive and demoralized when it comes to our sexual health. All of the information you need about herpes is readily available at clinics (hasslefreeclinic.org), on websites like Toronto Public Health (toronto.ca/health/sexualhealth/sh_stds_general.htm) and support groups like Phoenix (torontoherpes.com).

Stigmas only exist when we let them fester, and being able to speak calmly and non-​judgmentally about STIs is helpful in not letting them overwhelm the tone of your sex life as well as your sexual persona.

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