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While condoms have been touted as the primary means of protection against a variety of sexually transmitted diseases, and are very effective for HIV, chlamydia and gonnhorrea, their utility against herpes simplex virus (HSV) has been unclear because the virus can be spread through direct skin-to-skin contact.
However, a recent study using pooled results from previous research has found that condoms are somewhat effective in protecting against herpes simplex 2.
The researchers found that those who consistently used condoms 100 percent of the time "had a 30 percent lower risk of HSV-2 acquisition compared with those who never used condoms." The risk of infection varied directly with how often condoms were used - the more unprotected sex, the higher the risk of transmitting the disease.
According to the CDC, at least 45 million people ages 12 and older have had a genital herpes infection, approximately one out of five adolescents and adults.
Because the symptoms of HSV can be very mild, HSV testing can be used to diagnose the disease with a simple blood test.
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