Is There A Cure Or Treatment For Genital Herpes
There is no cure for genital herpes. However, daily use of antiviral medicines can prevent or shorten outbreaks. Antiviral medicines also can reduce the chance of spreading it to others.
Though several clinical trials have tested vaccines against genital herpes, there is no vaccine currently available to prevent infection. One vaccine trial showed efficacy among women whose partners had HSV-2, but only among women not infected with HSV-1. Efficacy was not observed among men whose partners had HSV-2. Another trial testing the same vaccine showed some protection from genital HSV-1 infection, but none from HSV-2.
Treatment If The Blisters Come Back
Go to a GP or sexual health clinic if you have been diagnosed with genital herpes and need treatment for an outbreak.
Antiviral medicine may help shorten an outbreak by 1 or 2 days if you start taking it as soon as symptoms appear.
But outbreaks usually settle by themselves, so you may not need treatment.
Recurrent outbreaks are usually milder than the first episode of genital herpes.
Over time, outbreaks tend to happen less often and be less severe. Some people never have outbreaks.
Some people who have more than 6 outbreaks in a year may benefit from taking antiviral medicine for 6 to 12 months.
If you still have outbreaks of genital herpes during this time, you may be referred to a specialist.
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How To Protect Yourself From Herpes
Aside from not having sex, there is no 100% effective way to prevent herpes. You can reduce the risk of contracting the infection by using a condom, but even a condom is not foolproof, as the virus can be transmitted even if your partner has no visible sores.
That said, if you or your partner has herpes, taking antiviral medications can significantly reduce the chances of transmission.
If you exhibit any of the symptoms of genital herpes, such as cracked, red sores around your genitals or rectum, ask your doctor for a blood test to detect HSV antibodies. Even if you test negative, regular STI screening is important for anyone who is sexually active, and free and low-cost testing resources can be found on the CDC’s website.
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Why You Should Go To A Sexual Health Clinic
You can see a GP, but they’ll probably refer you to a sexual health clinic if they think you might have genital herpes.
Sexual health clinics treat problems with the genitals and urine system.
Many sexual health clinics offer a walk-in service, where you do not need an appointment.
They’ll often get test results quicker than GP practices and you do not have to pay a prescription fee for treatment.
How Do People Get Genital Herpes
People can get infected with genital herpes when the virus comes into contact with a break in the skin in or around the mouth or genital area. This can happen when:
- They receive oral sex from a partner who has oral herpes .
- They touch a herpes sore and then touch their own genitals.
- Their genitals touch the skin in the genital area of someone who is infected .
Genital herpes can spread even if there are no sores because the virus is still in the body. The virus can be in the skin near the genitals and infect another person during sexual contact.
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Why Isnt There A Cure For Herpes Already
No company has managed to successfully develop a commercially ready herpes vaccine, however, several HSV vaccines have undergone phase I and II trials. Until recently, at least three pharmaceutical companies were overseeing clinical trials for herpes vaccine candidates. All three companies recently abandoned their research after failing to meet their primary endpoints.
How does herpes continue to hoodwink experienced researchers and scientists, when other devastating diseases like the measles, mumps, hepatitis B, and whooping cough have been nearly eliminated?
It all comes down to the unique behavior of the herpes simplex virus.
Herpes is a complex virus that knows exactly how to evade the immune systems grasp. It lies dormant in nerve cells for months or years at a time, then emerges without any warning to reactivate the infection. In this way, herpes behaves like a cancer that lurks in the body undetected until the damage is already done.
To make matters worse, as long as just a minuscule amount of infection remains after an outbreak fades, herpes can easily survive and reappear in future outbreaks.
Pharmaceutical companies are eager to uncover a cure for herpes, but they must first overcome an extremely long and expensive research process.
Can Genital Herpes Be Treated
Your physician can prescribe different medications to help reduce your symptoms and speed up the healing of an outbreak. These medicines work best when you start them soon after an outbreak occurs.
To reduce pain during an outbreak:
- Sit in warm water in a portable bath or bathtub for about 20 minutes. Avoid bubble baths.
- Keep your genital area clean and dry, and avoid tight clothes.
- Take over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Avoid aspirin.
Let your physician know if you are worried about your genital herpes. He or she can recommend a support group to help you cope with the virus.
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Is There Any Resistance To Genital Herpes Medication
Resistance to drugs that treat genital herpes even after 20 years of use is very rare. Herpes medications may not work as well in patients who are very immunosuppressed and have been treated with these drugs for a long time. Each individuals response to treatment may vary. In some cases, patients may need more drugs to suppress their viral outbreaks than others.
Further Considerations For The Future Of Herpes Simplex Virus Vaccine Development
Our understanding of the complexities of herpes simplex virus pathogenesis and immune evasion is consistently evolving, along with our understanding of viral latency. Designing an effective therapeutic or prophylactic vaccine requires further understanding these processes.
Trials that had been successful in the pre-clinical realm with murine model and guinea pig models have been effective, but have not translated well in the clinical realm. Other trials like the GSK gD subunit vaccine and the GEN-003 vaccine have been suspended due to dwindling financial support . To us, the HSV-529 and G103 appear to be promising from early studies in the pre-clinical stage. Additionally, they are likely to have less issues with safety as they are not live-attenuated vaccines.
The rapid development of an mRNA vaccine for COVID-19 has re-vitalized interest in mRNA vaccines as viable options to produce viral immunity. The classical problems involving the creation of mRNA vaccines include mRNA stability and delivery systems. It remains to be seen whether mRNA vaccines might have a utility for HSV however, initial studies with the trivalent vaccine have been promising, showing increased efficacy compared to a subunit formulation .
The advantages of an mRNA vaccine were previously discussed: It does not integrate within the host genome, translates in both proliferating and non-proliferating cells, with immediate protein production for a controllable amount of time .
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Treatment The First Time You Have Genital Herpes
You may be prescribed:
- antiviral medicine to stop the symptoms getting worse you need to start taking this within 5 days of the symptoms appearing
- cream for the pain
If you have had symptoms for more than 5 days before you go to a sexual health clinic, you can still get tested to find out the cause.
If You Have Genital Herpes Already Can It Be Spread To Other Parts Of The Body Such As The Arms Or Legs
No. Genital herpes cannot be transmitted to another part of your body such as your arm, leg or hand after the first infection occurs. If you have genital HSV II, you will not get HSV II at another site in your body. The immune system produces antibodies that protect other parts of your body from infection. However, there are cases where a person has multiple site infections from the same virus. This is usually acquired at the time of the first infection. For example, if someone has never had herpes but then has oral and genital sex with an infected partner, they can acquire the infection at both sites.
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Where Does The Herpes Virus Live In The Body
The herpes simplex viruses are latent, meaning they can live in the body without causing symptoms. After the initial infection, the virus gets into the nerve roots and spreads to the sensory nerve ganglia, the junctions where nerves from different parts of the body come together. For the genital area, the ganglia are adjacent to the spinal cord in the lower back. For orofacial herpes , the ganglia are located behind the cheek bone.
How Are Hsv Infections Currently Treated And Prevented
People with HSV infections can take prescription antiviral medications like or to help resolve blisters when they appear. And some people will take these medications daily to prevent outbreaks, too. Over-the-counter options, such as the topical cream , are also available for cold sores.
One thing to know is that most people dont even know that they have an infection because they arent experiencing symptoms but its still possible to spread it to others if youre symptom-free. As a general rule, youll want to use condoms to help lower the chance of transmitting the virus during sex, especially if you know that youre carrying the virus.
But unfortunately, these strategies only work partially. People with HSV may find that available medications do not work well for them, and condoms may not cover all areas where blisters appear. This has prompted research into whether a vaccine for these viruses is possible.
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Treatment Options For Oral Herpes
Oral herpes, also known as cold sores, can be treated using a number of affordable over-the-counter products .
Abreva® is an over-the-counter cream used to treat cold sores and fever blisters. It contains the only non-prescription ingredient approved by the FDA to accelerate the cold sore healing process. Apply Abreva® directly to your cold sore at the first sign of emergence for best results. This OTC treatment can be used up to five times a day, or as directed by your doctor.
When used at the first sign of that cold sore tingle, Abreva® can reduce healing time to between 2.5 and 4.1 days. It works by blocking the herpes virus from entering healthy skin cells and replicating. This means that Abreva® delivers the best results when applied in evenly spaced intervals to keep the skin consistently covered.
Orajel is a popular over-the-counter medication for instant and targeted pain relief in and around the mouth. For herpes simplex cold sores, the Orajel Cold Sore formula includes six active ingredients shown to treat the pain, itching, and dryness caused by cold sores.
Orajel uses a combination of skin protectants, topical anesthetics, and topical analgesics to temporarily relieve symptoms of cold sores and fever blisters. The product is applied directly to the cold sore and blended well until the green tint disappears. Its safe to apply Orajel up to four times a day to maintain comfort.
How Do You Get Genital Herpes
Genital herpes is a type of sexually transmitted disease caused mostly by HSV-2. Although HSV-1 can cause herpes rash in the genital area, it is less frequent compared with HSV-2. HSV-1 spreads by skin-to-skin contact, whereas HSV-2 spreads by sexual contact. Genital herpes rash is present on or around the genitals . When rash is in or on around the lips, mouth and throat, it is called oral herpes.
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What Is Neonatal Herpes
Neonatal herpes can be a very serious infection. Babies generally contract the virus from their birthing parent during childbirth even if the parent doesnt have active lesions. They may also get HSV-1 if an adult with an active cold sore kisses them. Breastfeeding babies can also get HSV-1 from the breast if there are lesions present. But babies cant get herpes from breast milk, so its safe to pump and feed.
Herpes simplex can be more dangerous for young babies because they dont have a fully developed immune system. But most babies with neonatal herpes can recover fully with treatment.
The dangers of neonatal herpes are much higher if the infection spreads to the babys organs. If youre pregnant and have herpes, speak with your healthcare provider about how to lower the risk of passing the infection to your baby.
Treatment Options For Genital Herpes
Head into your doctors office, use an online pharmacy, or check your medicine cabinet for these effective genital herpes antiviral medications.
Acyclovir is an antiviral medication that treats infections caused by the herpes simplex virus, including genital herpes. You might recognize Acyclovir by its brand names like Zovirax, Cymex Ultra, and Virasorb.
Its best to start taking Acyclovir as soon as you notice the first signs of an emerging outbreak. This medication stops the herpes virus from growing and spreading during an outbreak, although it cannot remove the virus from your body completely. Most people experience relief within just a few days of taking Acyclovir for genital herpes.
Valacyclovir, also known as Valtrex, is Food and Drug Administration approved to treat genital herpes. This antiviral drug interferes with the DNA replication of the herpes virus for an even longer duration of time than acyclovir. As a result, you can take Valacyclovir less frequently and still enjoy consistent results.
NSAIDS For Pain Relief
Genital herpes outbreaks can cause days or even weeks of discomfort. Fortunately, you probably already have pain relief options sitting in your medicine cabinet. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen are all formulated to reduce the inflammation that causes so much pain during outbreaks.
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Use The Luminance Red
The Luminance RED is a breakthrough cold sore treatment that harnesses powerful light technology to shorten healing time and decrease the frequency of new outbreaks.
This FDA-registered device nourishes the skin with red light, which is metabolized to accelerate the bodys healing process and strengthen its defenses against future attacks. Regular use of the Luminance RED not only shortens the healing time of active outbreaks, but it can prevent future outbreaks altogether!
The Luminance RED was designed with ideal wavelength and irradiance specifications to maximize efficiency in treating and preventing cold sore outbreaks. Thanks to the Luminance RED, light therapy has become one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent unwanted cold sore and genital herpes outbreaks.
Is Genital Herpes Infection Related To Hiv
Herpes and HIV are caused by different viruses. But patients infected with these viruses are more likely to transmit either disease to their sexual partners. Patients with herpes are more vulnerable to HIV infection. People newly diagnosed with herpes should be tested for HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections.
Patients who are infected with both herpes and HIV also may have a higher concentration of HIV viruses in their body because of the interaction between the herpes virus and the HIV virus. When HIV damages a persons immune system, the person may be more likely to shed herpes simplex virus asymptomatically.
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What Is The Herpes Virus
Herpes is a virus that causes skin sores. The medical term for it is the Herpes Simplex Virus . It most commonly produces sores on the mouth or genitals.
Herpes is very common and doesnt usually cause severe health problems. However, it is very contagious and there is no cure.
What Is Herpes Simplex Virus
There are two different kinds of Herpes Simplex Virus : Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 and Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 . HSV-1 mainly causes oral herpes, which results in cold sores and fever blisters around the mouth and on the face. Whilst HSV-2 mostly causes genital herpes which results in sores around the rectum or genitals. It may also occur in other locations, but the locality of the sores is mainly below the waist. HSV-2 is almost always transmitted through genital-to-genital contact during sex. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be asymptomatic due to which they remain unrecognized amongst individuals but sometimes it may cause symptoms of painful blisters or ulcers at the site of infection.
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Could Peptoids Be A Wide
Additional experiments are now underway to confirm the mouse findings. In addition, the peptoids could be effective against HSV-1 drug-resistant strains. The antimicrobial molecules could have a host of applications. Work is ongoing at Stanford to explore their impact on ear and lung infections. Dr. Barrons team has sent peptoid samples to experts in other labs to test against a range of viruses. There have been promising results in lab dish studies against influenza, the cold virus, and hepatitis B and C.
In their in vitro studies, a team found that two of the peptoids were the most potent antivirals ever identified against MERS and older SARS coronaviruses, Dr. Barron says.
Other labs are testing the peptoids as anti-fungals for airways, the gut, and as anti-infective coatings for contact lenses, catheters, and implanted hip and knee joints. The researchers are studying how these broad-spectrum compounds work. The study notes that such antivirals seem to pierce and break up the viral envelope and also bind to the virus DNA.
That multipronged mechanism has the advantage of inactivating the virus. Standard antivirals slow replication but still allow viruses to infect cells. It also makes it less likely that pathogens could develop resistance.
The team presented their findings at the American Chemical Society virtual meeting ACS Fall 2021.
South West News Service writer Mark Waghorn contributed to this report. This article was first published August 27, 2021.