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Coupled with a good understanding of herpes and a frank and open discussion with your partner, this can mean a very manageable relationship with herpes.

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But there’s something to be said for someone who knows they have herpes and knows how to manage it versus someone who has herpes and doesn’t know and has never been tested. Garrison, a clinical sexologist, told Primer: “When a person living with herpes knows everything about herpes and can comfort themselves and educate their partners, when they can know their prodrome and understand what that means, when they are aware of what can trigger their outbreaks, then sex with them can be (and often is! That being said, you'll never reduce your risk of contracting herpes from a partner down to zero. There are three ways to reduce the risk of transmission.

) less risky than sex with a partner who may or may not know their status.”A herpes prodrome are signs that an outbreak is about to happen. If nothing else, dating someone with herpes can seem like an inconvenience.

HSV-1 is the one that usually causes cold sores around your mouth and lips.

HSV-2 is the one usually responsible for genital herpes.

You find the lifestyle and sex life that fits your comfort level.

In the same way that no birth control method reduces the chances of pregnancy to zero, couples eventually find the right balance between caution and calculated risk.

The recurrence of herpes outbreaks is variable—but they always reappear in the same site. You can get herpes tested by a primary care physician or at a health clinic.

Herpes can be tested by taking a sample from a sore, or by taking a blood test to check for HSV antibodies.

Or is contracting herpes from your partner going to be an inevitability—not a matter of if, but when? I'm not going to sit here and guarantee that you'll never get herpes, either from your long term girlfriend or from a random hookup.

But know this: many, many couples find a way to make it work. In a long term relationship where there is open communication, maybe even a little professional counseling (people like Eric Garrison, or someone your doctor refers), you find your rhythm.

That virus can (but may not) be transmitted to any surface of someone else’s body, via physical contact.

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