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She told me she has herpes — Ask Dr Jean

Ask Dr Jean 13 Aug 2018
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When it comes to women's health, there is no such thing as a silly question. Do you have a question you want answered, but have been too afraid or embarrassed to bring it up with your GP? Or you forgot to ask while you were in the doctor's surgery? Now, you can 'Ask Dr Jean'.


Answering your questions for this edition of 'Ask Dr Jean' is gynaecologist and Jean Hailes Medical Director, Dr Elizabeth Farrell AM

Dr Elizabeth Farrell

When it comes to women's health, there is no such thing as a silly question. Do you have a question you want answered, but have been too afraid or embarrassed to bring it up with your GP? Or you forgot to ask while you were in the doctor's surgery? Now, you can 'Ask Dr Jean'.

Answering your questions for this edition of 'Ask Dr Jean' is gynaecologist and Jean Hailes Medical Director, Dr Elizabeth Farrell AM (pictured).

Question

A friend of mine has just started a new sexual relationship with a guy, and she told me they didn't use condoms. I asked her why not, as she told me in the past she has herpes. She said she was only contagious if she had any lesions. Is that true? She also said she hadn't had any lesions for 10 years, so does it mean she doesn't have the virus anymore?

Answer

Condoms are for safer sex; not just protection from herpes but from other STIs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea. The herpes virus is a lifelong infection. The virus can still be spread even if there is no outbreak. Condoms should always be worn, but the virus can still pass to a partner via skin contact.