Condoms Lower the Risk of Herpes

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine based on data from a trial of an experimental HSV-2 vaccine that ultimately failed found that consistent use of condoms can lower both women’s and men’s risk of contracting the virus that causes genital herpes.

The study of more than 1,800 adults considered at high risk of genital herpes because they’d had either an STD or four or more sexual partners in the past year, found that those who said they usually used condoms were one-quarter less likely to test positive for herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) than those who usually had unprotected sex.

Overall, just over 6 per cent of the men and women became infected with HSV-2 during the 18-month study period. The findings provide one more reason to use condoms consistently, however, it’s important for people who know they have HSV-2 to avoid sex when they are having a symptom outbreak.