Many doctors get this question about stopping the spread of genital herpes from a partner to another. However, there is a concept of asymptomatic shedding of HSV. Many people don’t know about this shedding. It means that you can even contract the virus even if your partner doesn’t have sores on their genitals. Fortunately, you can take some action to prevent transmission. Following are several important pieces of information that can help you reduce the risk of transmitting HSV.
What Are the Risks of Getting HSV From an Infected Person?
HSV-2 most commonly causes genital herpes through contact with genital sores. However, it can even spread when there are no visible sores or partners who don’t even know that they are infected. According to statistics, around 87% of people infected with HSV-2 don’t know that they have the disease.
Several studies have experimented with the rate of transmission between partners. According to a 2004 study of the New England Journal of Medicine, there were 1484 couples, and one of the partners had the virus. The asymptomatic partner had monthly checkups to check for symptoms of the disease. Doctors educated 741 couples about protection using condoms to avoid herpes transmission. Amongst those couples, only 27 became infected, and 16 of them had an outbreak.
According to the CDC, almost 775,000 people contract genital herpes infection. Moreover, it is common in women because it transmits from men to women during sexual contact. Other than avoiding sexual contact, there is no other way to prevent the transmission completely. Using condoms can reduce the transmission, but it doesn’t eliminate the risk. Alternatively, there is another method to reduce the risk of using antiviral medicines.
Valacyclovir for Preventing HSV
There are antiviral medicines that can prevent outbreaks. Using daily valacyclovir or Valacyclovir treatment can help to reduce asymptomatic shedding as well as outbreaks. In the study mentioned above, there were 743 of the 1484 couples who were instructed to take 500 mg Valacyclovir daily. Doctors also told them to use a condom for extra protection. Amongst these couples, only 14 were infected, and of those, four experienced outbreaks.
The study results were promising because taking 500 mg Valacyclovir daily can reduce the transmission of Genital Herpes. However, Valacyclovir can help reduce transmission of HSV-2, but it is not yet confirmed that Valacyclovir can be effective in treating genital sores due to HSV-1. HSV-1 is the herpes virus that causes cold sores around the mouth. HSV-2 most commonly causes genital herpes cases, but now there are increasing cases of genital herpes due to HSV-1. The reason for this cause is the growing social sexual change and high rate of oral sex.
The dosage of Valacyclovir is 500 mg for people who have fewer than nine outbreaks. However, doctors can adjust the dosage for those people who have more outbreaks and different organ problems.
How Much Time Does It Take for Valacyclovir to Work?
Valacyclovir is not the complete cure for genital herpes. It is possible that while using Valacyclovir, you may experience shedding, and lesions may occur. While Valacyclovir can reduce the outbreaks, there is still a risk of transmission. If your partner is experiencing a herpes outbreak, you must avoid getting sexual. Moreover, asymptomatic shedding is difficult to detect, so you should use condoms consistently to minimize the risks.
Can My Partner Experience an Outbreak While Taking Valacyclovir?
It is possible to experience an outbreak while taking the medication. While Valacyclovir tends to reduce the outbreak massively, it doesn’t eliminate the outbreaks. Fortunately, the number of outbreaks reduces overtime for a lot of people.
Is Valacyclovir Better Than Other Antiviral Medications?
There are two other antiviral medications: Zovirax and Famvir. All three of them are equally effective in treating genital herpes. Zovirax particularly treats initial and repeating outbreaks. However, Valacyclovir is more effective in reducing viral shedding when patients take it daily. Amongst the three medications, Valacyclovir is the only approved for reducing transmission of herpes.
Other Ways to Reduce Genital Herpes
Following are several ways that can reduce herpes transmission.
- Using condoms is one of the best ways to reduce the transmission rate. According to a 2016 study, over 900 couples and the findings suggest that condoms drastically reduced the transmission rate. The transmission rate from men to women went down by 96% and by 65% vice versa. Therefore, using condoms correctly can help reduce transmission.
- If your partner has an active sore on their genitals, it is advisable to refrain from sexual contact. However, if you want to proceed, go ahead with a condom.