Even without symptoms, herpes contagious some of the time
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association sheds some light on the dangers of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), otherwise known as genital herpes. The research finds that even when no symptoms are present, carriers are still contagious 10 percent of the time.
Researchers conducted a study involving individuals who had been diagnosed with HSV-2. They provided swabs of their genitals for 30 days, and scientists analyzed the amount and frequency that the virus was "shedding," meaning it was contagious.
Though the virus was much more likely to shed in patients who were symptomatic, individuals who are asymptomatic still run the risk of infecting their partner with the sexually transmitted infection.
Researchers urged anyone who has been infected with HSV-2 to seek out STD information, particularly in relation to the contagiousness of the condition. "The issue of infectivity is both a patient management and a public health concern,"the authors wrote.
A 2009 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that consistently using condoms cut the risk of contracting HSV-2 by 30 percent for both men and women, according to WebMD.