It's true that herpes is incurable, however, and that there's no foolproof way to prevent the possibility that you'll spread it to your partners.
The pain of herpes can be more emotional than physical
"I don't know why genital herpes has this pariah, fearful component to it," says H. Hunter Handsfield, MD, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle and a nationally recognized STD expert. "Herpes is, in fact, the same disease as our cold sores and fever blisters around the mouth, but we don't react emotionally the same way."
Another sneaky STD
Like chlamydia, herpes usually doesn't announce itself. Experts advise looking at a new partner's genitals to make sure there are no signs of infection. But "most herpes transmission comes from people who are not having symptomatic outbreaks," says Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, an STD specialist at the University of Washington medical school.
The good news? "Most people who have the virus won't have recurrent outbreaks. In fact, most people won't have outbreaks at all. For some people, though, it's a really awful, symptomatic, recurrent thing," Dr. Marrazzo says.