Keep The Area Clean And Dry
Its important to keep dry any areas affected by genital herpes sores. Moisture triggers irritation and can make outbreaks even worse. Try drying outbreaks with a hairdryer on low heat settings instead of a towel. It also helps to wear cotton underwear, since cotton is gentle and absorbs moisture much better than synthetic fabrics.
What Is The Best Medication For Herpes
The effectiveness of a particular medication varies depending on the person, so theres no single best herpes treatment. Doctors prescribe the most suitable drug for each patients condition, medical history, and current medications. That said, here are a few of the drugs most commonly used to treat HSV:
|Best medication for herpes|
This doesnt encompass the full scope of potential side effects, just the most common ones. Anyone considering treatment with one of these medications should speak with a healthcare professional for a more comprehensive list.
Other Cutaneous Hsv Infections
Localized cutaneous HSV infections may result from mucocutaneous or cutaneous contact with infectious sources. Herpes gladiatorum, herpetic whitlow, and other localized cutaneous herpetic infections can typically be managed with similar treatment strategies for primary and recurrent herpes labialis or genitalis.
Eczema herpeticum is an acute HSV infection that occurs in patients with chronic severe atopic dermatitis. It is characterized by erythematous vesicles, erosions, and crusting that occur in areas affected by atopic dermatitis. Dissemination can occur and may be associated with fever, pain, and lymphadenopathy. Prompt initiation of systemic antivirals is indicated.
HSV is the most common cause of erythema multiforme, and recurrences of erythema multiforme parallel recurrences of herpes simplex. Long-term suppressive therapy can be used for patients with six or more episodes per year or for those with severe recurrences. Long-term suppressive therapy with acyclovir has been shown to suppress recurrences of erythema multiforme in approximately 60% of patients. Dosing of systemic antivirals for recurrent herpes labialis or genitalis can be used, as the majority of evidence is derived from small studies and case reports.
Roizman B, Whitley RJ. An inquiry into the molecular basis of HSV latency and reactivation. Annu Rev Microbiol. 2013. 67:355-74. .
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Other Uses For This Medicine
Acyclovir is also sometimes used to treat eczema herpeticum to treat and prevent herpes infections of the skin, eyes, nose, and mouth in patients with human immunodeficiency virus , and to treat oral hairy leukoplakia .
This medication may be prescribed for other uses ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
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Treatment For Oral Herpes
The antiviral medications available in pill form have been specifically developed for the treatment of genital herpes. However, it is not uncommon for healthcare providers to prescribe the antiviral drugs to those who have frequent or severe outbreaks of oral herpes.
A recent study found valacyclovir to be effective for treating oral herpes in a one-day treatment of 2 grams taken at the first sign of a cold sore, and then again about 12 hours later.
There are two topical antiviral medications prescribed for the treatment of oral HSV symptoms: acyclovir ointment and penciclovir cream. Both work to speed up the healing process and reduce the viral activity. These topical drugs are put directly on the lesions themselves, but can also be used at the onset of prodrome.
Other topical treatments for oral herpes are available over-the-counter , but are not antiviral compounds like acyclovir and penciclovir. Some also contain ingredients that numb the area and induce temporary relief from the discomfort of an outbreak. Unfortunately, some OTC treatments may actually delay the healing time of symptoms because they can further irritate the area with repeated applications. There is only one OTC FDA-approved cream, called Abreva®, which has been clinically proven to help speed the healing process.
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Are There Any Special Recommendations
Disclaimer: This website may mention the name of Danforth Art Museum but we have no relation to this company. Always seek the advice of a health care provider with any questions and concerns you may have regarding your medical condition or treatment. Never neglect or delay professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website.
How To Avoid Passing On Genital Herpes
There are several steps you can take to reduce the chances of passing genital herpes on to your sexual partner, including:
- always using condoms when you have sex
- taking suppressive antiviral medicines and
- avoiding sex whenever you have symptoms.
However, while these steps will help reduce the chance of spreading the infection, there is still a chance that you could pass on the genital herpes virus through sexual contact.
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Genital Herpes: How Can You Prevent The Spread Of Herpes In Sexual Relationships
Herpes viruses are most likely to be transmitted during an outbreak, so it’s better to not have sex during this time. Herpes can also be passed on to others in symptom-free phases, though. This risk can be reduced considerably by using condoms.
If you have genital herpes, there are some things you can do on your own to protect your partner from infection. The main things are
- not having sex during an outbreak,
- using condoms during symptom-free phases, and
- talking openly with your partner about the disease.
Preventive treatment with antiviral medication may be an option for people who have genital herpes very frequently. This medication inhibits the activity of the virus, thereby lowering the risk of infecting partners.
Related Resouruces For Herpes
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This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.
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Can You Transfer The Herpes Virus To Your Baby While Pregnant
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection that is passed on from person to person during close sexual contact. Herpes is transmitted by genital to genital contact as well as by the oral/genital route. Herpes flare-ups vary from person to person, and while one common belief is that it cannot be spread when the infection is not active, there is still the chance of transmitting the virus even when one is not exhibiting symptoms. Due to this fact, many pregnant mothers express concern about transferring the virus to their unborn children. The good news is that neo-natal herpes is considered rare, but it is important for expectant mothers to educate themselves on specific risk factors and the possibility of transferring the virus.
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How Effective Is Medication At Preventing Infection
If you have genital herpes, you will probably be somewhat less likely to infect your partner if you use antiviral medication for prevention. The medications used for this purpose include aciclovir, famciclovir and valaciclovir. They must be taken every day over a long period of time, though. One study showed that over a period of eight months,
- 4 out of 100 people became infected when the partner with the virus took a placebo, and
- 2 out of 100 people became infected when the partner with the virus took antiviral medication every day.
These couples were also advised to use condoms as well but many didn’t use them consistently. So its not clear whether taking antiviral medication can lower the risk of infection even further if you always use condoms anyway, or whether using condoms is just as effective on its own.
Whether or not you would like to use preventive medication is ultimately an individual decision. Many factors can play a role, such as how long you or your partner have had the infection, how frequent and severe the outbreaks are, whether you are male or female, the frequency of sexual contact and whether you use condoms.
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Binding And Entry Inhibition
Other antiviral drugs act on the host cell to inhibit the virus . The advantage to this approach is that resistance to the drug is less likely to appear, especially because these drugs are not subject to TK activation and ACV resistance mutations in that locus while random mutations occur in both viruses and hosts, the mutation rate in viruses is much higher than it is in host cells . On the other hand, targeting a host cell function may lead to higher toxicity, potentially limiting therapeutic use to only viral strains that are resistant to safer therapies.
Valacyclovir Lowers Herpes Transmission Rates
If you have herpes, youve probably taken valacyclovir before as part of an outbreak or initial infection treatment protocol. Valacyclovir is extremely helpful in the management of herpes. During an outbreak, it can speed up the rate of recovery and quickly remove herpes sores.
When it comes to preventing the transmission of herpes, valacyclovir can be helpful but shouldnt be relied on as a 100% effective solution.
Study data shows that people with symptomatic herpes who take valacyclovir are almost 50% less likely to transmit the virus to others than non-medicated people with herpes. In one study, the HSV-2 acquisition rate was reduced from 3.6% to 1.9% using valacyclovir treatment.
Other studies show a similar reduction in herpes transmission rates when the infected person used valacyclovir.
For example, in a 2004 study, researchers noticed that people with non-symptomatic genital herpes were 50% less likely to transfer the virus to their sexual partner. People with herpes symptoms had an even higher drop in transmission ratea reduction of 77 percent.
Its important to remember that this still means there are cases where herpes is transmitted between sexual partners, even when the infected person takes valacyclovir.
In short, while valacyclovir doesnt completely block genital herpes transmission through sex and genital contact, using valacyclovir does lower your risk of catching herpes from a sexual partner.
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How Is Herpes Diagnosed
The herpes virus is almost always spread through sexual intercourse, oral sex, or kissing. Although sometimes HSV-1 can spread via shared lip balm, utensils, or other items that come in contact with saliva.
In most cases, healthcare providers can diagnose herpes with a visual examination and by discussing various symptoms. If theres any doubt, they can take a viral culture to confirm, which involves lab analysis of a swab or scraping.
If the patient has no history of herpes simplex and is a new patient, I always do a viral culture, says , MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of 5th Avenue Aesthetics. Also, if I am suspicious of HSV-2 or if it is an immunocompromised patient, I will order a viral culture. I start treatment right away before results come back. These results can take one week and it is best to start treatment early.
But again, symptoms arent always present. Fortunately, its also possible to diagnose HSV with a blood test. Your body produces antibodies to combat viruses, and doctors can use a blood sample to detect the specific antibodies that fight the herpes simplex virus.
A primary care physician can perform the examinations and tests necessary for an accurate diagnosis. However, sexual health clinics offer similar, reliable services.
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How Do I Treat Genital Herpes
For most people antiviral medicine is not necessary either because their body prevents recurrent symptoms or because they find that adopting a healthier life style makes a difference. See What can I do to prevent frequent recurrences?For people who are unlucky and get frequent recurrences, there are two ways that antiviral tablets can be used.
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Drug Treatment For Genital Herpes
If you are infected with genital herpes, your doctor may prescribe oral antiviral drugs to help ease your symptoms during both a first episode and recurrent episodes. Your doctor may also suggest taking antiviral drugs daily as a suppressive therapy to reduce symptoms and protect partners.
Remember, though, that antiviral drugs do not wipe out the virus completely. It continues to live in your body, so if you stop taking the drugs that suppress it, you may have more frequent or more intense symptom outbreaks, and the risk of your transmitting the virus to others rises.
Three antiviral drugs, all taken by mouth, are used to treat genital herpes:
How Long Does It Take For The Medication To Work
All antiviral herpes medications begin to work quickly, which is why they should be taken as close as possible to the first emergence of symptoms.
This will give the medications the best chance to reduce the severity of the outbreak, and to speed up the resolution of an outbreak .
When taken within the first three days of an initial genital herpes outbreak, antiviral medications can shorten the lifespan of the outbreak by two to four days.
During later occurrences, these medications can shorten the lifespan of these outbreaks by 1-2 days.
Many people with HSV-2 do not experience regular genital herpes outbreaks.
But for people who do experience several episodes per year, preventative treatment can make a big difference.
In clinical studies, many patients who begin daily preventative treatment, go on to experience zero genital herpes outbreaks over the course of the following year.
Preventative antivirals can even help those patients who experience especially frequent and painful outbreaks of genital herpes.
In one study of this population, for instance, preventative antivirals were shown to reduce the average number of yearly outbreaks from 11 to 2.
Its important to remember, though, that none of these medications can completely cure herpes or eliminate the HSV virus from the body.
While preventative medicines, especially, can make it less likely that youll pass on the infection to sexual partners, it cannot completely eliminate this risk.
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Some Important Facts Affecting The Risk Of Herpes Transmission
- Herpes is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact
- The first outbreak is the most contagious
- There is a greater statistical chance of passing herpes when youâve been recently diagnosed whether you have symptoms or not
- Herpes infects skin areas that are thin and moist because itâs easier for the virus to penetrate those areas. For that reason, females are three times more likely to be infected than males
- Younger people having casual sex are more likely to contract herpes
- HSV-1 in the genital area recurs less often than HSV-2
- Being positive for HSV-2 gives some protection against getting HSV-1. The opposite is not true
- If a person with one type of herpes acquires a different type, the flare-up symptoms are milder
- Sex toys should not be shared. But if they are shared, they should be cleaned with water and soap before being used
How We Evaluate Health Products And Services
At Innerbody Research, we customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related service or product. But in general for health products and services, we have five broad areas that we explore in our evaluations, including:
Quality: How well does the company deliver its core service to the customer? For testing services, does the company adhere to the latest and most advanced testing technologies and achieve a very high degree of accuracy? For non-testing telemedical or teletherapy services, is the quality of the service high enough that we would recommend it to loved ones without hesitation? If not, why not? For health products, does the product or device meet a high level of safety? Is it manufactured with high-quality standards? Has it or have its ingredients been subjected to effective studies that confirm effectiveness?
User-friendly: How intuitive and convenient is the service or product? Does the device, program, app, or website achieve a good degree of user-friendliness for its customers?
Value: Are you getting your moneys worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the company offer discounts?
Privacy: If health data is stored, will your data be stored securely? Are payments secure? Does a company market your information?
Customer support: Particularly in situations where one size fits all doesnt make sense, how well does the company help to make the service or product ideal for you or address your individual needs?
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How Far Away Is A Cure For Herpes
Theres currently no cure for herpes, but that might change in the future.
According to 2020 research published in Nature, scientists from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center removed 90 percent of the HSV-1 virus from cells in mice using gene editing.
However, it takes time to transition potential treatments from animals to humans. In a 2020 news article, one of the researchers that authored the Nature paper estimated that it would be at least 3 years before human trials.
Scientists are also researching the possibility of creating a vaccine to prevent herpes. A 2022 study outlined a new approach to developing an mRNA vaccine for herpes. The vaccine mentioned in the study worked well in mice and guinea pigs.
The researchers say that theyre aiming to conduct human trials before the end of 2022, and the vaccine could be available within the next 10 years.
How Big Is The Risk Of Infection
The likelihood of being infected with genital herpes during sex depends on many factors, including how often you have sex, whether and how frequently you use condoms, and how long your partner has already been infected. Someone who has had the virus for a long time is less contagious than someone who has just been infected. In general, women have a higher risk of becoming infected than men. Having other sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV also increases the risk of transmission.
In studies with couples where one partner had genital herpes, the other partner became infected within one year in 5 to 10% of the couples. The people in these studies only rarely used condoms, though and if they did, it was mostly during an outbreak. One of these studies showed that infection occurred in an estimated 1 out of 1,000 sexual acts.
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