by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Lifestyle changes can help your health and daily life.

Telling Your Partners

People with genital herpes need to tell their partner(s) so they can be tested and treated if they need to be. It does not mean they have genital herpes. It only means they were exposed to it. These talks may be hard. But they are vital for your health and the health of your partner. Doctors can give you facts about the virus to give to your partner.


Counseling is a big part of living life with this. Having a lifelong health problem can affect all aspects of life. Many people feel a range of feelings.

Counseling and support groups can help with:

  • How you feel about yourself and the future
  • Feelings of anger, anxiety , and depression
  • Education—Learning how to cope with the infection, medicines, symptoms, and what to do during outbreaks
  • Behavior changes to avoid having high risk sex
  • Learning proper and consistent condom use
  • Avoiding getting other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as HIV
  • Knowing the risks if you or your partner are planning to become pregnant

Counseling can also help your partner. It's to have open talks and all the facts.

Change Your Sexual Activities

Sex does not have to stop. Find some time to talk to any future sex partners about exposure before you have sex.

Changes will take time to get used to. They are:

  • Sexual spontaneity—You will need to make plans and know when it is okay for you to have sex. Do not have sex during an outbreak.
  • Always use a latex condom—Genital herpes can be spread even with condom use. This is because the virus can exist on skin not covered by the condom.

Genital herpes raises the risk of future HIV infection. Sores make it easier for HIV spread. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about HIV screening.


Pregnant women with genital herpes should make plans with the doctor before the baby is born. Antiviral medicines can help lower the risk of your baby getting it. A cesarean section can also help protect your baby during birth.

HIV Infection

Your immune system does not work as well if you have an HIV infection. For people with HIV, outbreaks of genital herpes can be more severe and last longer. Work with a doctor who treats people who have HIV.


2015 Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated January 25, 2017. Accessed August 10, 2018.

Genital herpes. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:  . Updated February 19, 2018. Accessed August 10, 2018.

Genital herpes. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: Updated February 2018. Accessed August 10, 2018.

Genital herpes—CDC fact sheet (detailed). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated February 9, 2017. Accessed August 10, 2018.

Groves MJ. Genital herpes: a review. Am Fam Physician. 2016;93(11):928-934.

Mindel A, Marks C. Psychological symptoms associated with genital herpes virus infections: epidemiology and approaches to management. CNS Drugs. 2005;19(4):303-312.

Neonatal herpes. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:  . Updated June 9, 2015. Accessed August 10, 2018.

Roberts C. Genital herpes in young adults: changing sexual behaviours, epidemiology and management. Herpes. 2005;12(1):10-13.

Revision Information