How Close Are We To A Successful Herpes Vaccine
In 2016, it seemed as if we were on the cusp of a herpes vaccine when the bioscience company Genocea announced that it had completed phase 2 clinical trials for a therapeutic vaccine called GEN-003. Research showed that herpes patients were 65 percent less likely to have outbreaks after receiving the vaccine and 60 percent less likely to shed the virus through their skin even without lesions.
But lack of funding killed the project, a company spokesperson explained to MensHealth.com. In September 2017, the company stopped development of GEN-003 because they didn’t have enough money to pay for phase three clinical trials, which would have been required to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration . The company is now focusing primarily on cancer research.
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.
What Are The Different Types Of Herpes
There are two types of herpes simplex virus: HSV I and HSV II. HSV I commonly causes oral herpes, or cold sores. This virus can show up as an upper respiratory tract infection during early childhood. HSV II is the cause of most cases of genital herpes. However, it is possible for HSV I to cause genital herpes and HSV II to cause oral herpes.
Clinicians cannot tell the difference between the two types by physical examination alone, but there are differences between the two viruses. For example, genital herpes caused by HSV II is much more likely to recur. This diagnosis can be helpful in establishing a health care plan.
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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.
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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What Happens If I Dont Receive Treatment
Genital herpes can cause painful genital sores and can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems.
If you touch your sores or fluids from the sores, you may transfer herpes to another body part like your eyes. Do not touch the sores or fluids to avoid spreading herpes to another part of your body. If you do touch the sores or fluids, quickly wash your hands thoroughly to help avoid spreading the infection.
If you are pregnant, there can be problems for you and your unborn fetus, or newborn baby. See Im pregnant. How could genital herpes affect my baby? for information about this.
What About A Herpes Vaccine
Researchers have been experimenting with potential herpes vaccines for decades, but to date, only the shingles and chickenpox variants of herpes can be prevented with a vaccine.
Clinical trial testing for herpes vaccines has proved difficult for many reasons, including asymptomatic infection and unpredictable viral shedding.
However, a new study from the University of Cincinnati, Northwestern University, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln hopes to accomplish what others have not. The studys research team has genetically edited a form of herpes simplex virus and rewired it so that it cant hide out in the nervous system during dormant periods. Early results suggest theres hope for a vaccine, but just as with the CRISPR herpes cure, final results are still years away.
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Moderna Starts Clinical Trials For Hiv Vaccine
Moderna is developing a vaccine using mRNA technology to treat the herpes simplex virus . There are two HSV virus types HSV-1, the one I have, that affects the mouth, face and genitals, and HSV-2, which predominantly affects the genitals. However, both viruses can spread to other parts of the body. In the United States, of people aged 14 to 49, 47.8 percent have HSV-1 and 11.9 percent have HSV-2, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many people living with herpes dont know they have it, which means these figures may be far greater. HSV remains latent in the body, staying alive through the lifelong infection of a given person. When reactivated, HSV results in visible outbreaks. The vaccine will protect against HSV-2 and provide cross-protection for HSV-1 as a suppressive antiviral treatment.
The CDC recommends against widespread testing for herpes as, alongside the risk of false positives, the risk of shaming and stigmatizing people outweighs the potential benefits.
Deidre Olsen is an award-nominated writer based in Berlin. She is writing a memoir about self-destruction, healing and resilience.
A Workhorse Of Gene Therapy
The researchers also refined their methods of transporting the molecular scissors to targeted nerve cells. From the beginning, Jerome and his team have relied on a harmless, hollowed-out virus that is drawn to the surface proteins of nerve cells. Called an adeno-associated virus vector, or AAV, it is the little workhorse of gene therapy. In this case, it is used to ferry to the infected nerve cells genetic instructions that cause them to make those meganucleases.
âWe inject the AAV vector, and it finds its way,â Aubert said.
Latent herpes viruses lurk in clusters of nerve cells called ganglia, and researchers have found that some ganglia are harder to reach than others. Over the years, they discovered that some AAV strains are better suited than others to find specific types of nerve clusters, and this has helped them fine-tune the selection of these delivery viruses to match infected cells in different places.
In their mouse experiments, the team continued to improve their results, nudging them up to a 95% reduction in herpesvirus infection in one prominent nerve cluster using a selection of two different meganucleases carried by three different flavors of AAVs. By selecting vectors that are primed for harder-to-reach nerve clusters, the group expects to continue improving their ability to eradicate the virus.
Stoddard is also tweaking the meganucleasesâ structures to make them a better fit against HSV-2.
Aubert said that comes naturally to her.
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Can I Be Treated To Prevent Genital Herpes Transmission To My Partner
Yes. A large study showed that if one partner has herpes and the other partner is uninfected, treating the infected partner with suppressive therapy can prevent transmission of symptomatic herpes in over 90% of cases. This is an option for couples who are interested in having unprotected sex or who are planning to become pregnant.
If you are entering into a new relationship and are aware that you have herpes simplex infection, you owe it to your partner to notify them before having sex.
What Are The Symptoms Of Genital Herpes
Most people infected with genital herpes have no symptoms, but some people can experience:
- stinging or tingling in the genital area
- small blisters on the genital area that develop into small painful red sores
- sores that look like a rash or cracked skin on the genitals
- difficulty passing urine
The first episode of infection can also have flu-like symptoms such as:
After the first episode, the virus remains dormant in your body for the rest of your life, which means you can experience recurrent episodes of sores and blisters.
Recurrent episodes are usually milder, shorter and less frequent over time. They are more likely to occur when your immune system is weak, due to illness, tiredness or stress.
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What Does Genital Herpes Look Like
While some people with genital herpes will never have any symptoms, other people can develop symptoms within a few weeks of being infected.
Often, before the lesions appear, patients describe a prodrome, characterized by a tingling or burning sensation in the area where the lesions will develop that can be noticed during urination, along with itching or discomfort in the genital area.
You can also have the following symptoms:
- Blisters on the mouth or lips
- Fever, headache or pain in the joints
- Trouble urinating
The symptoms of genital herpes often go away and come back as recurring outbreaks. For most people, the first outbreak is the worst, and can last from two to three weeks. Future flare-ups are often less severe and do not last as long. Still, some people shed the virus regularly. The following triggers can make outbreaks more likely to occur:
- Viral or bacterial infections
- Menstrual periods
Recurrent genital herpes is most common in the first year after the initial infection and decreases as time goes on.
In many cases, anti-herpes medicine can help patients. When a person experiences a prodrome and suspects a recurrence is going to happen, they begin taking anti-herpes medications that lessen symptoms and shorten the time of the outbreak.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- What is the best treatment for me?
- Are there any side effects to my treatment?
- Is it safe to have unprotected sex if I dont have any sores?
- Can I give myself genital herpes if I also have oral herpes?
- Can I give someone else herpes even if Im not having an outbreak?
- What is the best way to prevent herpes outbreaks?
- Can I live a normal life with herpes?
- Am I at risk of developing any other diseases?
- Are there any support groups in my area?
- If I give my baby herpes, what is the treatment?
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When To Talk With A Doctor
Herpes isnt curable, but it can be treated with antiviral medications. These medications can reduce the severity of an outbreak.
If you suspect you have herpes, make an appointment with a doctor. Its also a good idea to talk with your doctor about a herpes screening if:
- your current or previous sexual partner has herpes
- youre planning to have sex with a new partner
- you had a risky sexual encounter
If youve already been diagnosed with herpes and youre currently experiencing an outbreak, the outbreak might go away without causing complications and without treatment.
However, its wise to make an appointment with your doctor if:
- the outbreak is particularly painful or unbearable
- youre experiencing symptoms of other STIs
- youre experiencing frequent, severe outbreaks
If youre sexually active, its a good idea to have regular STI screenings. You can book appointments for STI screenings with your doctors office. You could also try a local clinic, certain pharmacies, or Planned Parenthood.
Arginine And Herpes Outbreaks
Arginine is another amino acid that makes up proteins and is involved in several very important functions of the human organism.
This amino acid is essential in pediatric ages because the organism of infants is not able to synthesize it.
The adult organism can synthesize arginine in the urea cycle which was discovered by the German physiologist Hans Adolf Krebs in 1932.
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Understanding Herpes With H Hunter Handsfield Md
Herpes expert H. Hunter Handsfield, MD, explains the basics about genital herpes, including the difference between genital HSV-1 and HSV-2 infection, testing options and the importance of knowing virus type, and the three-prong strategy for prevention. See more herpes videos at sexualhealthTV.com.
Have a question about herpes youd like Dr. Handsfield or our other experts to answer? Visit our Ask the Experts page to learn how.
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.
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How Is Herpes Simplex Treated
Some people have few to no herpes outbreaks and choose not to have treatment. But many people prefer to use medications that shorten outbreaks and reduce symptoms.
During an outbreak, you may use an antiviral ointment or cream to help lessen your symptoms and help them go away faster, but it only works if you start it soon after you start an outbreak. Many people with HSV-2 take daily oral medications to keep outbreaks at bay.
Your provider may prescribe a topical medication or oral medication such as:
Is There A Cure For Herpes Simplex
There is no cure for herpes simplex. Once you have the virus, its a lifelong infection.
What is the outlook for people with herpes simplex?
For many people, the first herpes outbreak is the most severe. Many outbreaks are less frequent and milder after the first year of infection. Some people may have only one outbreak and never have another again.
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What Happens At A Sexual Health Clinic
The doctor or nurse at the sexual health clinic will:
- ask about your symptoms and your sexual partners
- use a small cotton bud to take some fluid from 1 of your blisters or sores for testing
The test cannot:
- be done if you do not have visible blisters or sores
- tell you how long you have had herpes or who you got it from
Symptoms might not appear for weeks or even years after you’re infected with the herpes virus.
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.
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Home Remedies And Lifestyle
At-home treatments for herpes are used to relieve pain. They do nothing to alter the course of the infection but can make you more comfortable as the herpes sores begin to heal.
There are several things you can do if have an outbreak of oral or genital herpes:
- Use a cold compress. Place a cloth-covered ice pack on the sores for 15 minutes several times daily to reduce pain. Keep the ice pack moving to prevent frostbite.
- Do not touch or scratch. Avoid touching and rubbing the sores. Doing so can spread the infection to other areas of the skin.
- Keep the sores clean. Herpes sores can become infected with bacteria if touched with soiled hands. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after going to the bathroom or before applying medications.
- Reduce stress. Stress can increase your sensitivity to pain during a herpes outbreak. You can reduce stress by performing gentle exercises or practicing mind-body therapies like meditation, yoga, and guided imagery.
To reduce the risk of spreading herpes, avoid kissing and sharing objects that come into contact with saliva, like drinking straws and eating utensils.
It’s important to note that oral herpes can be spread to the genitals, and that genital herpes can be spread to the mouth. To reduce the risk of infection, use condoms and dental dams during oral sex. Better yet, avoid sex altogether if you are having an active herpes outbreak .