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National Cervical Cancer Coalition


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:46 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:12 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Oakland
I have been puzzled by a seeming omission in the standard advice regarding prevention:

"When there are no symptoms present, there is still the possibility of asymptomatic reactivation. Using latex condoms between outbreaks for genital-to-genital contact can reduce the risk of transmission. While condoms don't always cover the potential sites of viral shedding, they offer useful protection against the virus by protecting or covering the mucous membranes that are the most likely sites of transmission. Furthermore, keep in mind that condoms also help reduce the risk of acquiring another STD."

If condoms don't cover all the potential sites for shedding, and shedding can occur when no symptoms are present, why does the advice not discuss ways of covering all potential shedding sites?

--What area would need to be covered (from waist to knees)?

--What would provide an adequate barrier (is prevention of skin-to-skin contact enough, or could viruses work their way through porous fabric? would latex be required?)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:50 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:47 am
Posts: 5443
Location: PA
Condoms reduce transmission by about 30-40%. They seem to work better for protecting females than males.

They do make some products that cover the entire anogenital area for males. Not very attractive and very expensive. You'd have to cover the anal area as well as the actual genital area. You do not shed from the thicker skin on the buttocks and thighs unless an obvious lesion is present on those areas. you'd be better off using regular condoms and the infected partner on daily suppressive therapy.

betsy

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:30 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:12 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Oakland
Thanks, Betsy. A couple of followups:

-- is the 60-70% failure rate for condoms due to shedding from non-condom-covered areas?

-- since suppressive therapy still doesn't get the risk totally down, would male-to-female transmission be further lowered by the male wearing boxer shorts or pajamas in addition to the condom? Or would the fabric be too porous to do any good?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:11 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:47 am
Posts: 5443
Location: PA
Condoms work best if they are put on when the clothes come off. Most people just wait and use them when it's time for actual penetration.

Fabric would help probably. we really don't have studies on it.

I recommend keeping your sex life as normal as possible. always having boxers on or coming at your partner with a latex boxer brief/condom combo on each time probably is going to cause more issues than just laughter in most relationships. You can get the risk of transmitting herpes down to about the same rate as real use of the birth control pill. How many of us still insist on using condoms when our partners are on the pill for birth control reasons?

betsy

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