Sex After STDs

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Reviewed May 2015

Is there sex after herpes or human papillomavirus?  I wish that the culture didn’t do what it does with these things because I want you to know HPV and herpes are not nearly as big a deal as you’ve been led to believe they are.  

I’ve had countless young women and also men in my office who felt as though they had a big scarlet letter on their head when they were diagnosed with herpes. 

Now, here are the facts.  The vast majority of people who have herpes don’t even know it and may never know it.  That’s right.  They’ve been exposed, and if you did a blood test, you would find that they have antibodies to herpes, either type one or type two.  By the way, type one tends to like to live above the belt, type two lives below the belt, and most new cases of herpes are type one, from oral sex. And what you need to know is that these things go away over time.  Yes, herpes is forever, but usually it burns itself out in three to four years, maybe even a year.  If it’s type one, and by the way, a blood test can tell you whether it’s type one or type two, especially type one will just go away after a year or two.  

The big deal with herpes is if you have a primary infection, in other words, if your body gets herpes when you are pregnant, but even then chances are good that nothing is going to happen. So let’s say that you’ve just been diagnosed with herpes and you feel like a loser.  It’s very important that you talk to any prospective sexual partners about this because 15% of people will shed the herpes virus asymptomatically.  In other words, you may never have another outbreak in your life but you could theoretically give herpes to somebody.  It’s also impossible to know most of the time who you got it from.  

And sometimes I’ve seen women in their 80s show up with herpes infections that they got maybe 40 years before but their immune systems became compromised and then the herpes, which lives in the dorsal root horn cells of the spinal cord,then becomes active. 

If you’re diagnosed with herpes, one of the best ways to keep it from blooming regularly, other than the antiviral drugs, which you can be given a prescription for, is to have a lot of garlic in your diet or take deodorized garlic supplements.  By the way, the minute you feel the tingling come on, before you get an outbreak, you can actually prevent the outbreakby taking deodorized garlic capsules or tablets every four every four hours for a couple of days and then three every three hours for a couple of days and two every two hours for a couple of days. But I guess what I really want you to know is that so many people have been exposed to these things and they just burn themselves out over time that you can have a very enriching sex life.  However, to be completely protected, it’s important that if you’re going to have sex with someone, you each get yourself tested so you know what you’re getting into.  

By the way, HPV, human papillomavirus, infects about 70% of all people.  That’s a wart virus.  There are a hundred different types of HPV.  The new vaccine Gardasil has blown that one out of proportion, too. So, be honest with your sexual partners.

Know that you can protect each other with the use of Saran Wrap put over the genitals, also with the use of condoms.  But you know what, life is, as I said, is sexually transmitted and when you have intimacy there is always a risk of getting something, and so be as proactive as you can but remember that self-love and getting over shame is the biggest protection and also the biggest medical thing you can do for yourself to not feel like you’ve got that scarlet letter.  

Trust me.  Herpes and HPV are not the big deal they’ve been made out to be if you have a functioning immune system.  Most people don’t even know that they’ve been exposed.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.

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