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The Truth About Condoms and Foams
The Ask A Healer Herpes Information Section

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The facts on condoms and foams:

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Laboratory studies show that: The herpes virus does not pass through latex condoms and, when properly used, latex condoms are likely to reduce your risk of spreading or getting herpes. Even the best condoms do not guarantee total safety.

When herpes sores occur in places not covered by a condom the condom is of little help in preventing transmission, if any. Condoms and foams should not be relied upon when herpes sores or symptoms are present.

Spermicidal foams and jellies may offer additional protection. Spermicides used in contraceptive foams, film and gels kill or neutralize HSV in laboratory tests and may provide some protection when used in the vagina (recommended dose the same as for contraception). Some contraceptive foams contain ingredients (such as nonoxynol-9) that kill the herpes virus and other STDs in test tubes.

Foams are best used along with condoms, not in place of condoms. Condoms do not provide 100 percent protection because a lesion may be found which the condom did not cover. Used consistently, however, condoms are the best available form of prevention aside from abstinence.

Because of the highly contagious nature of this virus, avoid any contact with an active herpes site, even if the blister is elsewhere on the body and not directly at a sexual organ. The fingers, eyes and other body areas can be accidentally infected by touching the sores.

Preventing self-infection is simple: Do not touch the area during an outbreak. If you do, wash your hands immediately.

Women with any sexually transmitted disease (STD) may be at greater risk of developing cervical cancer than other women. All women should have regular Pap tests at least once a year as early cell changes can be detected by Pap smears. Visit a local sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic, hospital, doctor or health professional.