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Oral herpes forum: Oral Herpes (Cold Sores) Symptoms, Treatment, Testing & Pictures

True Story: I Have Herpes –

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a normal, 20-something girl. I’m an economics major, sociology minor at a Midwest college. I party on weekends, serve at a local coffee shop for cash and love spending it all on shoes. I’m normal.

But I have herpes.

I grew up in a good home, in a middle-class neighborhood and my parents are still together. Sex was never a taboo topic, and sexual health was never something I was shy about. I’ve had sex with ten men (only 2 of which I wasn’t in a relationship with), all of which I have used condoms with – most of the time.

For those of us who aren’t sure, could you tell us what Herpes is?
Basically, herpes is a virus and once you have it, it’s yours for life. There are two types, Simplex 1 and 2. I have 1, which is the “lighter” version, that usual manifests as oral cold sores.

However, I got it on my genitals, most likely after receiving oral sex from someone who has it. Simplex 2 is “stronger” and what most people show as genital herpes. Wikipedia explains more, as do numerous online sources (be sure to check references and always ask your doctor if your information is correct)

How did you get Herpes?
The crazy thing about herpes is, you never can be totally sure where you got it from.

My ex-boyfriend from a few years ago, Chris, has herpes. He was completely honest about it with me from day one, and for that reason I still hold him in the highest regard. It was completely my decision to sleep with him full knowing the risk of catching it. We were always careful to use condoms.

But not careful enough that the occasional night we would get caught up and not use one. But he’s had it for ten years and knows his body. He never once had sex with me when he thought there could be even the slightest risk. We had sex for over four years, and I never had a problem. We broke up last year.

How did you find out that you had it?
I had been seeing another guy, John, for a couple months about a year after Chris and I broke up. One night we had sex, and it was pretty rough (a trigger for a herpes outbreak). I woke up feeling sore but thought it was just because we had gone at it pretty hard. A few days later we had sex again, and the next morning I woke up in unbearable pain.

It felt like someone was stabbing me in the crotch, while giving me rug burn, while pouring acid over top. When I checked myself out, I saw a couple little sores. I freaked out and got to the doc that same day. He told me that it was just an allergic reaction to the condoms we used and gave me a cortisone cream. He still did an STI test, but I heard nothing back.

Two days later, the sores were everywhere, I couldn’t pee, or go to the bathroom, and couldn’t sleep or walk. New doc said it might be herpes, but didn’t test or give me anything for it. 2 days later I went to another doc.

This was possibly the worst experience of my life. I could barely open my legs I was in so much pain. He had to insert a speculum to do a swab, I was literally screaming and crying hysterically on the table. I was begging him to stop. He couldn’t finish swabbing because I was hurting so bad.

He then had to scrap one of the sores to get cells for testing. Again, I was screaming and sobbing, but had to let him do it, because I had to know what was wrong with me. It was hell.

He prescribed me painkillers and Valtrex (an oral anti-viral for herpes). He said there was a chance it could be something else, but to be safe we’d start on Valtrex right away.

How did you feel when you found out?
I spent the week alone, at home, crying, sobbing. Anytime I would be wake up or feel the pain, I’d pop a pill and try to sleep. It was awful. My house fell apart, I stopped eating, I didn’t talk to anyone. I literally shut myself in.

I felt disgusting and still do in a way. I felt like the light in me was turned off. I felt like the happy, bubbly, flirty, fun girl I used to be was killed. I was ashamed, I felt dirty, I felt like no one would love me again. When I told John, I watched the look in his eyes change. I haven’t heard from him since.

And although I have a history of a sexual partner with herpes, that does NOT necessarily mean that Chris gave it to me. John could have given it to me just as easy. That’s the thing, you NEVER know. Chris has been a rock through this. I didn’t want to tell him, but I needed support. He has been amazing.

In a weird way, it’s dissolved any remaining tension between us. And in another weird way, it cleared up any questions I had about John and the type of person he is. So, some good in the bad.

What sort of treatments have you tried? Have they been successful for you?
I have just been using Valtrex, and only when I feel an outbreak coming. I also avoid potential triggers, such as sun exposure and high stress situations. So far I’ve been successful in fighting this.

How has this affected your romantic life?
As I said, John and I broke up. To be honest, if a guy reacts like that, then I don’t want him in my life anyways.

I have not had any romantic partners since. I have been holding back on getting close with anyone because I am dreading the day I have to tell them.

Chris told me about his herpes about 2 months into our relationship, long before we had done more then make out. He trusted me not only to not tell anyone, but he also trusted that I would accept him for who he is, flaws and all. I remember that when he told me, I was not disgusted or even disappointed.

If anything, I felt closer to him. And because of his honesty, I never had trust issues with him. So I hope the same will happen for me when I tell my next boyfriend. But if he can’t handle it, that’s fine too, because I don’t want to be with someone who won’t love me exactly the way I am.

And in a strange way, it’s almost a blessing… I won’t be sleeping with a guy I like right away, he now has to earn my trust.

What steps do you take to avoid giving Herpes to a partner?
The only sure fire way is not to have sex at all. Oral counts.

But if you and your partner are going to, and one of you is infected, you can take certain steps to be safer. Never, EVER have sex when there are sores present. Even in the healing stage, when they are no longer contagious, don’t have sex, it’s not worth the risk.

Never have sex when you feel an outbreak about to happen (burning, itching, tingling). ALWAYS use a condom and a spermicide. Be open, honest and communicate. Trust your gut. Don’t take stupid risks. Continue to get screened. Make sure you always have a supply of Valtrex on hand just in case. But mainly, communicate honestly.

What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed?
Before you’ve been diagnosed, if you feel that something “down there” is wrong, don’t wait. Go to a clinic right away and tell them what you think it is. I didn’t tell the first doc I thought it was herpes because I didn’t want to believe it.

I wanted it to just be a reaction to the condom. Get tested right away and get on medicine for it right away, otherwise you’re in for a WORLD of pain.

Get a good drug plan. Always have a stash of meds just in case. Know your body and take extra good care of it. Do research, but don’t quote the internet. Talk to your doctor. Use the anonymous phone lines if you want to talk to someone. Always be open and honest with your partner.

DON’T blame anyone. Accept that you chose to have sex in the first place, knowing that STIs ARE a possible outcome, and accept it. Never blame someone else, that will just kill you in the end.

What advice would you give to someone who’s interested in a person who’s been diagnosed?
First of all, I recommend this book.

Secondly, ask yourself if there is a future with this person. Ask yourself if you are really willing to contract this virus that you will have forever. Don’t romance it. It HURTS, physically AND emotionally.

What If you get it and you break up? Are you ready to be the one telling your new partner about it? Will you accept full responsibility if you get herpes? Or will you resent your partner? Beyond that, ask yourself how much you trust your partner.

Will they be open and honest with you about the state of their health? Will they put you at risk if they’re horny one night? Will they respect you when you say no? If you can’t have an open and frank conversation with your partner about sex and STIs, whether or not either of you have one, I really think you need to reevaluate why you’re in that relationship in the first place.

Is there a cure for herpes? Current research and treatments

Herpes is an infection that results from either of two types of herpes simplex virus. The symptoms may appear as oral herpes or genital herpes. Currently, there is no cure.

Most people with herpes do not show symptoms, but the infection can also cause painful ulcers and blisters. Those without symptoms can still pass the infection on to others.

Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) typically causes oral herpes, but may also cause genital herpes. People transmit HSV-1 through saliva.

Herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) is a more common cause of genital herpes. A person might acquire HSV-2 through sexual contact.

Infection with HSV is very common. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that roughly half a billion people are living with genital herpes globally, and several billion with an oral herpes infection.

In this article, we look at why there is no cure for herpes, the progress on developing a cure, and the current treatment options.

There is currently no cure or preventive treatment for the herpes infection. If a person gets either form of herpes virus infection, they will have it for life, whether or not they experience symptoms.

Researchers have conducted several clinical trials investigating vaccines against herpes infection, but there is currently no commercially available vaccine.

Herpes is challenging to cure because of the nature of the virus. The HSV infection can hide away in a person’s nerve cells for months or years before reappearing and reactivating the infection.

Experts suggest that even if antiviral drugs destroy the active parts of the infection, it only takes a small amount of the virus to hide in the nerve cells and become dormant for the herpes virus to continue.

To find a treatment, scientists need to understand further the mechanism that enables the infection to hide. By preventing this mechanism, they might be able to tackle the whole infection before parts go dormant.

Some medications may reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms and lower the chances of passing the infection on to others. Current antiviral medications to treat herpes include the following medications:

  • acyclovir
  • valacyclovir
  • famciclovir
  • penciclovir

Acyclovir is typically the first form of treatment for HSV infections. A doctor may treat a skin or mucous membrane infection with oral acyclovir, provided the person has a competent immune system.

For people with severe infections or less competent immune systems, the doctor may prescribe intravenous (IV) acyclovir. Possible side effects of acyclovir may impact the central nervous system or gastrointestinal tract, which runs from the mouth to the anus.

People with high levels of stress or trauma may experience more frequent recurrences of genital herpes. In this case, a doctor may advise psychotherapy and counseling.

Some home remedies, such as petroleum gel or essential oils, may alleviate the discomfort that herpes lesions cause.

Click here to learn more about the best home remedies to treat herpes.


A person can transmit HSV-1 when they have no symptoms. However, it is most contagious during an outbreak.

People with active symptoms must avoid oral contact with others or sharing objects that come into contact with saliva. They must also avoid performing oral sex.

Those with symptoms of genital herpes must also abstain from sexual activity to prevent the spread of the disease.

People with an HSV-2 infection can transmit genital herpes while experiencing no symptoms. HSV-2 is most contagious during an outbreak of sores.

People should abstain from sexual activity while experiencing symptoms. The correct use of condoms may help to reduce the risk of spreading genital herpes.

Pregnant women with symptoms of genital herpes should speak to a doctor, as there is a risk of neonatal herpes.

Neonatal herpes is where a mother passes the infection on to the fetus before, during, or immediately after delivery. It is rare but can have severe consequences for the infant.

The WHO recognize the need for further research into preventing and treating HSV.

Clinical trials are underway to search for an effective treatment. A new drug, called pritelivir, is currently undergoing clinical trials as a treatment for herpes symptoms. Experts believe pritelivir may be a useful alternative for people who cannot take acyclovir.

Scientists are currently studying potential vaccines and topical microbicides in their search for a cure for herpes.

The WHO suggest there are many potential candidates for a herpes vaccine. The development of vaccines for varicella-zoster virus and the human papillomavirus and progress in HSV vaccine studies suggest an HSV vaccine is feasible.

Microbicides are compounds that a person may apply to the vagina or rectum for protection against sexually transmitted illnesses. These treatments can come as a cream, gel, film, or suppository.

The HSV causes herpes and can affect the mouth or genitals. There is currently no cure for the virus, but treatments exist that can reduce the symptoms and infectiousness of the disease.

Scientists are researching vaccines or compounds that might cure herpes.

how an innocuous skin condition became “sexual leprosy” and sparked a myth about drug companies.

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If you are an American between the ages of 14 and 49 reading this, there is a decent chance you have genital herpes and don’t know it. About 11.9 percent of Americans in that range have herpes simplex virus 2, or HSV-2, the kind most commonly associated with genital outbreaks, and most of them—more than 4 in 5, by some estimates—have no idea.

That’s partly because government health officials think we’re better off that way. In 2019, a herpes diagnosis still carries an intense stigma. There are more than 1,000 posts on Reddit, the online discussion forum, containing the words herpes and devastated. Perennial articles chronicle the months, or even years, it takes for people who test positive to regain their self-worth and begin dating or having sex again. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention actually recommends against widespread screening for genital herpes. In addition to the risk of false positives, “the risk of shaming and stigmatizing people outweighs the potential benefits” of testing everyone, the agency says. Many doctors don’t include the test in a standard STI panel unless a patient shows symptoms. Since many people with HSV-2 have either no symptoms or very mild symptoms, the majority never seek treatment and are never diagnosed.

This points to the medical reality of genital herpes: It is, for the vast majority of people, no big deal. Along with the 11.9 percent with HSV-2, 47.8 percent of Americans in the 14-to-49 age range carry HSV-1, or “oral herpes,” which generally causes cold sores around the mouth but can also cause genital herpes. If you’ve had chickenpox, shingles, or mononucleosis, you’ve also been infected by another virus in the herpes family. For the people who do have symptoms from genital herpes, they’re generally no worse than, well, cold sores, only they’re not on your face. Genital herpes only causes complications in people with compromised immune systems, and when it does, they’re usually treatable. In short, herpes simplex is a common, generally harmless skin condition that happens to sometimes be spread sexually. Barry Margulies, an associate professor of biological sciences at Towson University, said he tells students that herpes viruses are “extremely common pathogens that have actually sort of evolved a fabulous coexistence with us”—because “in most cases, nobody ever knows they have them.”

If herpes is such a minor deal, why does it come with such a pervasive stigma? In the first half of the 20th century, genital herpes was not on the public radar, and it wasn’t even recognized as a discrete type of herpes infection until the 1960s. But by the 1980s, it was slapped on the cover of Time with headlines like “Herpes: The New Sexual Leprosy.” What happened in the intervening years shows how a public sex panic is made. What’s still happening—herpes shame, fear, and confusion even now—shows how that panic can morph and persist. One of the oddest subplots of the stigma’s endurance has to do with who’s been falsely blamed for making herpes a boogeyman in the first place: drug companies.

Herpes simplex has been infecting hominids for millions of years, but it wasn’t until 1967 that scientists first distinguished between the HSV-1 and HSV-2 types, effectively creating the concept of “genital herpes.” The following year, a team of epidemiologists at Baylor University announced that it had found a correlation between herpes 2 and cervical cancer. (That link ultimately turned out to be a red herring; human papillomavirus, or HPV—not HSV-2—actually causes cervical cancer.) But even at the height of the sexual revolution, and with the specter of cancer attached to it, herpes 2 didn’t immediately infiltrate the public imagination. A 1973 article in the feminist magazine Off Our Backs quoted a doctor saying, “Such is herpes simplex, a common infection, barely a disease—so why talk about it?” In 1974, Abigail Van Buren, known as Dear Abby, reassured a reader, “My medical experts inform me that Herpes 2 should not (repeat not) be classified as a venereal disease,” since it can be spread nonsexually. “No need for you to be embarrassed,” she added. A 1976 New York Times Magazine story had an eminently reasonable conclusion: “For now, herpes viruses are part of our individual and collective ecosystems—like bacteria and pollution. We cannot get rid of them without getting rid of ourselves.”

But around the same time, many newspapers and magazines took a different approach. They called genital herpes an “epidemic” and emphasized that it was incurable and could result in dangerous neonatal infections when passed from mother to infant during childbirth. (Both are true, though the latter is exceedingly rare.) In 1973, Time gave readers this explanation of the difference between herpes 1 and 2 in an unbylined article: “Unlike the basic herpes simplex, which strikes indiscriminately, type II appears to exercise moral judgment—tending to afflict primarily the sexually promiscuous.” A 1978 Los Angeles Times article with the headline “Venereal Disease of New Morality: Sexual Sore Spot That’s Spreading” opened by describing two people with genital herpes so severe they required hospitalization and said that herpes was “roaring through parts of Orange County like an unwanted dinner guest.” In July 1980, Time again covered herpes under the headline “Herpes: The New Sexual Leprosy” and the subheadline “ ‘Viruses of love’ infect millions with disease and despair.” Later that year, Newsweek called herpes “an insidious venereal disease” and quoted someone with herpes saying, “It’s like someone putting a soldering iron against your skin.”

Herpes hysteria reached its pinnacle in 1982. The New York Times Magazine ran a story presenting the “evidence that the disease deals a terrible blow to the victim’s self-image.” Rolling Stone’s contribution to the genre that year was titled “Lovesick: The Terrible Curse of Herpes.” In August, Time ran a now-infamous cover story, “The New Scarlet Letter,” in which author John Leo dubbed herpes “the VD of the Ivy League and Jerry Falwell’s revenge.” The article claimed it was “altering sexual rites in America, changing courtship patterns, sending thousands of sufferers spinning into months of depression and self-exile and delivering a numbing blow to the one-night stand.” Abigail Van Buren changed her tune, encouraging readers to sanitize linens and tableware used by people with herpes and contradicting a reader who asserted that having genital herpes was “just like having a cold or the flu.

Daniel Laskin, the journalist who wrote the New York Times Magazine’s 1982 story about the “evidence that [herpes] deals a terrible blow to the victim’s self-image,” wrote to me that his story was borne out of a hysteria that was in the air. “My feeling is that this atmosphere of panic (exaggerated, I guess, in retrospect) was a function of how media and culture worked,” he said.

Television also played an important role in terrifying Americans about herpes. In March 1981, 60 Minutes ran an episode on herpes. A CDC scientist named Mary Guinan, who appeared reluctantly in the episode, said it opened with the question “Dr. Guinan, which venereal disease would you least like to have?”—a question no one had ever actually asked her during the interview process. “The response that was aired was a contrived one, a sliced-together collage of clips discussing syphilis, gonorrhea, genital herpes, and orogenital sex,” Guinan wrote in her 2016 memoir. “I cringed.” According to Guinan, she was also roped into appearing on an episode of The Phil Donahue Show in which Donahue accused Guinan of “covering up” the herpes epidemic as the live studio audience heckled her. In 1983, ABC aired a made-for-TV movie called Intimate Agony in which practically everyone living in a fictional community called Paradise Island contracts herpes.

Why did herpes hysteria explode at this time? Modern researchers have estimated that the overall prevalence of herpes 2 rose from 13.6 percent to 15.7 percent between 1970 and 1985—just a modest increase. Around the same time, doctor visits for genital herpes increased tenfold, a fact that researchers at the time saw as evidence of an epidemic. But with the benefit of hindsight, the increase in doctor visits seems like evidence of something else.

“If herpes did not exist, the Moral Majority would have had to invent it.”

— New Republic commentator, 1982

“In the ’70s, there were many cultural concerns about sex and the fear of herpes,” said Allan M. Brandt, a professor of the history of medicine at Harvard University. “It was widely seen as untreatable, a persistent risk of infection, with long-term consequences.” It is likely that fear, not a rise of infections, drove the surge to doctors’ offices.

In the period in between the discovery of penicillin (which cured chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis) and the first reported cases of HIV/AIDS in 1981, Americans had no reason to think they were at much risk from casual sex—but they were deeply ambivalent about the idea of having multiple sex partners for fun. An incurable, easy-to-spread sexually transmitted infection that (sometimes) produced visible marks on the body and (very rarely) killed babies really did feel to some people like divine punishment for having sex. Indeed, a national survey commissioned in 1983 by Glamour found that 25 percent of women thought that “higher incidence of diseases transmitted through sexual intercourse … is God’s punishment for sexual promiscuity.” Billy Graham practically gloated about herpes as a sign of God’s displeasure with casual sex, saying, “We have the Pill. We have conquered VD with penicillin. But then along comes Herpes Simplex II. Nature itself lashes back when we go against God.” As one commentator for the New Republic wrote in 1982, “If herpes did not exist, the Moral Majority would have had to invent it.” Herpes was the perfect MacGuffin for a society ambivalent about the sexual revolution.

Ironically, one major contributor to the growing stigmatization of people with herpes may have been testimonials from people with herpes themselves, who skewed America’s sense of what a typical herpes diagnosis meant.

Oscar Gillespie, who co-founded a support group called HELP (Herpetics Engaged in Living Productively) in 1979, saw brief fame in the early 1980s when journalists started banging down his door asking for quotes about what it’s like to live with herpes. Gillespie appeared on The MacNeil/Lehrer Report, The Phil Donahue Show, Oprah, and 60 Minutes, and spoke to reporters from the New York Times Magazine and Time. “The mission was to get some clarity for what’s going on, for diagnosis and for treatment,” Gillespie told me over the phone. Nonetheless, some of the things he told the media sound pretty dramatic to modern ears. “People become murderous” upon being diagnosed with herpes, Gillespie said on PBS in 1982. “They want to take out contracts on the people that gave them herpes. And it often develops into a rather deep depression: ‘What will I do with my life? Now I am a leper; now I am left out of the normal swing of things.’ ”

From Gillespie’s perspective, he was simply relaying the feelings he’d heard from other people with herpes at support group meetings—and if reporters projected those feelings to a national audience, well, that was their job. “I didn’t create the language that was being used,” he told me. “I saw that language that was being used.” The word leper, Gillespie told me, “came from the people who had herpes. … If the media picked up on that, they’re just reporting.”

A major part of the herpes scaremongering of the late ’70s and early ’80s was that the infection was not merely incurable but also untreatable. When people went to their doctors with an outbreak, “They were told to go home and have a sitz bath and pretty much keep it clean and dry. That was pretty much it: keep it clean and dry,” Gillespie remembered. The lack of approved treatments for herpes didn’t stop some desperate patients—and some doctors—from experimenting. In 1981, the CDC issued a pamphlet warning people about the ineffectiveness of supposed treatments such as ether, dye-light therapy, and steroid creams.

Then, in March 1982, the Food and Drug Administration approved the very first treatment for genital herpes: an antiviral compound called acyclovir (brand name Zovirax), which was patented by Burroughs Wellcome, a private pharmaceutical company. Acyclovir had already been proven extremely effective as an intravenous treatment for immunosuppressed patients at high risk of developing complications from herpes simplex. Now it could treat genital HSV-2.

Zovirax was a medical breakthrough. It was also the source of the internet’s favorite conspiracy about herpes stigma.

But as a treatment for genital herpes, the drug’s sales initial potential proved limited. It was FDA-approved only as a topical ointment, and only for an initial outbreak—there was insufficient evidence that it was effective for controlling recurrent outbreaks. By June 1983, the New York Times deemed Zovirax’s sales “disappointing.”

Zovirax was a medical breakthrough for the treatment of herpes simplex, chickenpox, and shingles, and one of its inventors was awarded a Nobel Prize in part for the drug. But it was also the source of the internet’s favorite conspiracy about how the herpes stigma was born. To hear some advocates for HSV-positive people tell it today, herpes didn’t carry any stigma until pharmaceutical companies, hellbent on selling their antiviral drugs, engineered a fearmongering campaign around it. “Herpes Genitalis, it seems, was not always stigmatized; it was merely a cold sore in an unusual place until the 1970s,” wrote an administrator for Project Accept, a nonprofit promoting herpes awareness and acceptance, in a frequently cited post. “The stigma is a comparatively recent phenomenon and appears to be the direct result of a Burroughs Wellcome’s Zovirax pharmaceutical marketing campaign in the late 1970’s through mid 1980’s.” The Herpes Viruses Association, a support group based in the U.K., has also promoted this hypothesis about the origins of herpes stigma.

This belief has gone mainstream: If you visited the Wikipedia page for herpes simplex any time between 2011 and earlier this year, you probably read a version of this theory. In recent years, it has been picked up by Vice (“Did Big Pharma Create the Herpes Stigma for Profit?”), Teen Vogue (“How Our Fear of Herpes Was Invented by a Drug Company”), and Salon (“How Big Pharma Helped Create the Herpes Stigma to Sell Drugs”). Or you might have heard it on the popular medical podcast Sawbones. It has comforted people newly diagnosed with herpes and has repeatedly fascinated the “Today I Learned” crowd on Reddit. It is also almost certainly not true.

If Burroughs Wellcome did play a role in stoking herpes stigma in the 1980s, one would expect its consumer-facing ads to play up the fears swirling around herpes. But the company’s campaign seemed designed to counter those fears. The ads showed attractive straight white couples embracing on the beach and lounging in natural settings. “The hardest thing he ever had to do was tell Sally he had herpes. But thanks to his doctor, he could also tell her it’s controllable,” read one tagline over a picture of one of these couples. “When they met last year, she was the only one with herpes,” read another. “With the help of her doctor, she’s still the only one.” The implication of these ads—on top of the crucial, sales-bolstering point that “herpes is controllable”—is that herpes is not a social death sentence, and people with herpes aren’t doomed to be eternally rejected by potential romantic partners. It’s a far cry from “the new sexual leprosy.”

“The intent is to encourage people with herpes to visit their physician,” said a Burroughs Wellcome spokeswoman at the time, because herpes “had a reputation for being an untreatable, incurable disease.” Indeed, it’s hard to read the Burroughs Wellcome ads from this era as creating herpes stigma—they were clearly in conversation with a stigma that was already there.

And in fact by the time its ads appeared, America’s hysteria about herpes had already begun to die down. Gillespie, the onetime favored herpes spokesman, thinks journalists changed their approach to talking about herpes after acyclovir arrived. “The hyperness of the media changed,” he said. “The media were not pushing the issue or talking to people about their fears anymore. … Once there was treatment, they didn’t need to do a 60 Minutes.” The New York Times agreed, running an article under the headline “ ‘Paranoia’ Over Herpes Seems to Subside” in September 1985. In the article, Dena Kleiman interviewed an unnamed biology professor who was diagnosed with herpes in 1983 and initially thought of himself as a “leper” and an “unclean person.” Upon successful treatment with oral acyclovir, the biology professor “said he felt better about himself.”

The other reason paranoia over herpes subsided in the mid-1980s was rising awareness about AIDS, a sexually transmitted infection that, unlike herpes, actually threatened people’s lives. “AIDS seems to have put herpes in perspective,” a gynecologist told Kleiman. “Herpes is an annoying illness, but it is hardly a catastrophe.”

Still, if herpes stigma is much different today than it was in 1980, it clearly endures, as all those anonymous testimonials show. So does an inability to accept the facts about the infection. And with that has come the desire for someone to blame.

That seems to be where the often-repeated theory that herpes stigma was mass-produced by a profit-hungry pharma company come from. Today the conspiracy greets anxious people with new diagnoses when they search for herpes on Google, and it speaks to an appetite to expose dark corporate skullduggery.

The main evidence—the smoking gun cited over and over again—seems to be a few sentences in a 2006 article in the Journal of Clinical Investigation by former Burroughs Wellcome research and development director Pedro Cuatrecasas. He writes:

During the D&D of acyclovir (Zovirax), marketing insisted that there were ‘no markets’ for this compound. Most had hardly heard of genital herpes, to say nothing about the common and devastating systemic herpetic infections in immunocompromised patients. But those with knowledge of clinical medicine knew that these were very serious and prevalent conditions for which there were no other therapies. Fortunately, at the time, research management had the authority and knowledge to render decisions.

Based on this passage, Project Accept concluded that “any public perception of need for antivirals” “would have to be manufactured.” Cuatrecasas’ article was also cited on the Wikipedia page for herpes simplex as evidence of a pharmaceutical conspiracy for several years. In February 2011, a Wikipedia editor named Marian Nicholson—also the director of the U.K.’s Herpes Viruses Association—added a section that read, “Genital herpes simplex was not always stigmatised. It was merely a cold sore in an unusual place until the 1970s.” Nicholson included a few snippets from Cuatrecasas’ article followed by the hypothesis, “Thus marketing the medical condition—separating the ‘normal cold sore’ from the ‘stigmatized genital infection’ was to become the key to marketing the drug.

The conspiracy greets anxious people when they search for herpes on Google.

What exactly did Cuatrecasas mean when he wrote that Burroughs Wellcome’s marketing department “insisted that there were ‘no markets’ ” for acyclovir?

“During that time, certainly the condition was well-known,” he told me over the phone. “But there were no data provided in terms of incidence or prevalence or contagiousness.” Unlike with chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, health care providers have never been required by law to report herpes diagnoses to their state and local health departments, and so accurate data on its prevalence was hard to come by in the ’70s and ’80s. (Today, the CDC’s data on the prevalence of herpes comes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.) Burroughs Wellcome’s marketing team, Cuatrecasas recalled, “couldn’t get a hold of data. There were no data banks they could access. This is not atypical. … Most marketing people then, and it’s maybe even worse now, are not very imaginative.”

I asked Cuatrecasas whether there was anything to the belief that Burroughs Wellcome helped create herpes stigma. “No, no, not at all,” he replied. “No, that is really a conspiracy theory.” During clinical trials for acyclovir, Cuatrecasas added, Burroughs Wellcome was the one hearing from genital herpes patients desperate to try the drug. “There were people with severe, really severe fever blisters we don’t see much anymore.”

If you buy the conspiracy, you might be thinking that this is exactly what a pharmaceutical researcher would say to cover his tracks. But Cuatrecasas certainly didn’t sound like someone who’s a diehard supporter of his former employer. He said that after he left the company in 1985, he watched Burroughs Wellcome “jack up the price” of treatments for conditions in a way he found “unconscionable.”

I learned more about the company’s drug-promotion strategy from a former staffer named John Grubbs. Grubbs pitched doctors on Zovirax and other Burroughs Wellcome drugs for several years starting in 1987 and worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 23 years total. Grubbs said that Burroughs Wellcome sometimes sent out promoters to start talking up certain conditions to doctors before it released drugs to treat them—but never more than six months in advance. “They wouldn’t want to spend the money to have a sales force promoting something that may or may not come out,” Grubbs said. “You know, some drugs get to the very end and never end up getting approved.”

Like all pharmaceutical companies, Burroughs Wellcome was motivated by profit. There is evidence that it funded research to discredit other potentially viable herpes treatments in the ’80s, presumably to protect Zovirax’s market share. Over the years, the pharmaceutical beneficiary of these drugs also shifted: Burroughs Wellcome merged with Glaxo Laboratories in 1995, and Glaxo Wellcome then merged with SmithKline Beecham to become GlaxoSmithKline in 2000. In 2006, GlaxoSmithKline paid a doctor to promote the universal screening of pregnant women for herpes, a practice that’s not recommended by the CDC but would presumably increase demand for valacyclovir—brand name Valtrex—the second-generation herpes treatment that GlaxoSmithKline then had the patent for. Glaxo Wellcome’s patent on acyclovir had expired in 1997. (Valacyclovir remains popular as both a treatment for herpes outbreaks and as a viral suppressant for people who have herpes and partners who don’t.)

Project Accept’s 2012 article about the origins of herpes stigma is unbylined, and the organization’s current director didn’t respond to an email asking who wrote it. I did, however, exchange emails with Marian Nicholson. When I asked her why she thought that herpes stigma was invented by pharmaceutical companies, she claimed that “the newspaper and magazine articles (Time ‘Scarlet Letter’ etc.) came about because of PR briefings from companies working for Glaxo-Wellcome and so the sudden interest in herpes just before the drug hit the market was not a coincidence.”

I asked Nicholson if she had any specific evidence that Burroughs Wellcome contributed to the media’s herpes hysteria in the ’70s and ’80s. “No, I know of no one who has published any private BW instructions to their PR company to ‘big up’ genital herpes so as to promote sales of” acyclovir, she replied, adding that she assumed “this was understood by the PR company to be ‘what we do’ and it did not need spelling out.”

I asked Laskin, the journalist who wrote the New York Times Magazine’s 1982 story about herpes, whether Burroughs Wellcome had anything to do with his story. “I had no contact at all with Burroughs Wellcome,” he replied.

I don’t begrudge Nicholson, or anyone else, their belief that Burroughs Wellcome invented herpes stigma in the ’70s and ’80s. It’s undeniably compelling. It’s compelling because it offers people with herpes an alternative way of thinking about the virus they’ve contracted. It’s compelling because it illuminates an indisputable truth: that beyond the basic biological facts, everything we think about any health condition is socially constructed.

And there are seeds of truth in this conspiracy theory. It’s true that researchers didn’t even distinguish between herpes type 1 and herpes type 2 until the late 1960s and that genital herpes wasn’t even considered a “venereal disease” until the 1970s. It’s true that herpes stigma had to be “manufactured.” But it wasn’t manufactured by a nefarious pharmaceutical company. It was manufactured by the interplay of media and consumers, a vicious cycle in which the media covered herpes sensationally, generating fear and interest from consumers, and that in turn generated more sensationalistic articles and TV news segments, and then more fear, the press and the public mirroring and stoking each other’s hysteria. People who were most affected by herpes became both a pawn in and further fuel for the panic. It’s impossible to point to a single moment in this cycle and say, “That’s when genital herpes became stigmatized.” But we can point to the phenomenon and see how misguided it was and how misguided its aftermath remains today. We can begin to free ourselves from the stories people told about herpes in the ’70s and ’80s, and start telling one another new stories about herpes instead—stories about how common it is, how trivial it usually is, and how it should be least among your fears when you have sex.

Readers like you make our work possible. Help us continue to provide the reporting, commentary, and criticism you won’t find anywhere else.

Slate Plus

Novel Gene Editing Technique Deletes Herpes

Using gene editing, researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Fred Hutch) have successfully removed latent herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) — the virus responsible for oral herpes — from infected mice.

HSV-1 is a widespread human pathogen that can produce oral ulcers and neonatal herpes in those infected, along with increasing their risk for acquiring human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Primary infection begins at the skin, but HSV-1 typically invades neurons in the peripheral nervous system, where it can lie dormant for life. At any time, it can reactivate from its dormant, or latent, state and cause lesions or ulcers on the skin. Current antiviral therapies for oral herpes can reduce infection severity and reactivation frequency, but they do not eliminate the latent HSV-1 itself.

Gene editing technologies, such as CRISPR-Cas9 and meganucleases (i.e., molecular DNA scissors), offer the possibility of disrupting or eliminating latent HSV-1. Scientists have achieved in vivo gene editing of the HSV genome through…

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A Guide to Living and Dating with Herpes in 2020

Are you thinking about joining a herpes support group? Are you living with herpes? Are you worried about the physical, emotional, and sexual implications of having herpes? Do you need guidance on how to live a positive life even with herpes? Do you know someone who can benefit from joining a herpes support group? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone, and this article is for you.

Hi. My name is Sean Galla. I have been facilitating online support groups, including herpes support groups, for more than 10 years. In my years as a facilitator, I have seen firsthand how important support groups can be in anyone’s life. By joining a herpes simplex virus support group, you improve your chances of living a happy and healthy life in spite of your condition.

In this article, I will be talking about herpes support groups and information about living with herpes.  

Written by

Sean Galla

An experienced facilitator, community builder and Peer Support Specialist, Sean has been running men’s groups for 10+ years.&nbspRead Sean’s Full Author Bio.

What Is a Herpes Support Group?

Getting a genital herpes diagnosis can be tough for anyone. Unlike HSV-1 common with cold sores, HSV-2 is characterized by shame and recklessness. For most people, it is easy to fall into depression and isolation as a way of coping with the new diagnosis. If you have recently been diagnosed with genital herpes, this should not mark the end of your world. It is possible to live a happy, healthy, and positive life after a herpes diagnosis. There are millions of other people with HSV-2 leading great lives and enjoying thriving relationships.

A herpes support group is a social support forum for people with herpes by people with herpes. If you have recently been diagnosed with herpes or you have lived with herpes in isolation for a while, joining a herpes support group can help to ease the stress of living with the condition.

In a herpes support group, you will meet other people who share your experiences about living with the condition. A herpes support group is a safe space where you can share your concerns, worries, and experiences to create a mutually beneficial environment for all members.

With the right support group, like a parenting support group, you will be amongst people committed to helping you heal from your past, soar above your story and reclaim your sexuality to be able to lead a happy life.

Why Join a Herpes Support Group?

When you suddenly develop blisters and mouth sores, the first test done is to check for a herpes infection. An HSV-2 virus diagnosis can cause you to feel fear, shame, and distress. While these are normal reactions with sexually transmitted diseases diagnosis, most people forget that genital herpes is a manageable condition with antiviral medication, even though there is no cure for it. It is crucial for people with herpes simplex virus type 2 to get educated on how to live with the condition and how they can practice better sexual health. 

While most people living with herpes are advised to see a specialty therapist, herpes support groups can also be of great help when dealing with herpes. A support forum (even that of a men’s divorce forum) for people living with genital herpes can be the perfect complement to seeking medical advice. There are numerous genital herpes support groups in the United States and other parts of the world. These support groups offer a safe space where people living with HSV-2 can share their feelings, worries, and experiencing living with the virus. They also provide the perfect platform where accurate information about genital herpes is shared.

Joining a support group is highly recommended for anyone living with genital herpes. It is the best shot for you to lead a healthy life and feel like yourself again after a diagnosis. On the other hand, if you need an infidelity support group, mensgroup.com has you covered.

How to Live and Date With Herpes

Living and dating with the herpes virus are not as complicated as most people assume. Millions of people around the world are leading a healthy, happy life with herpes. You can join a dating site where you can meet other people living with herpes. When dating with herpes, it is essential to learn to practice safe sex, especially with new people. This goes a long way in protecting you from reinfections and protecting your partner too.

Talk to your spouse – if you have been diagnosed with herpes, and whenever there is a herpes outbreak, the centers for disease control and prevention (CDC) herpes resource center advises that it is wise to let your sexual partner know and to get them tested too. This is the best way to get the treatment both of you need.

Learn the facts – there is a lot of misinformation when it comes to genital herpes. Ensure you read on the facts, and talk to your support group members to get the correct information.

Join a support group – becoming part of a support group for people with herpes can make it easier for you to handle the diagnosis and learn how to live with it.  

Benefits of Joining a Herpes Support Group

After you are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection like genital herpes, there are several steps you need to take to deal with the news. First, you are required to talk to your doctor or a healthcare professional, take your meds and learn to live with the virus. Joining herpes support groups is one of the best ways to get resources and tools for living with herpes.

If you are feeling alone and isolated, there are numerous benefits to joining an HSV-2 support group.

Other benefits for joining a support group for herpes include:

  • You get a safe space to express your feelings, be it for guilt, shame, frustration, anger, anxiety, or sadness. In a herpes support group, you get to share the impact living with the virus has had on your life amongst people who relater and empathize with you.
  • You learn of effective coping skills to balance your life while managing the hsv-2 virus.
  • You will get help and advice on how to date again after a herpes diagnosis. It helps you to overcome the fear of dating with herpes and exploring a new sexual relationship.
  • You get a new family of people living with herpes, which helps to prevent the need to self-isolate.
  • You meet with other people who have been through the healing stages and can guide you on how to go through the process. You also get to learn from their stories as you share your own.
  • You learn of dating strategies and being in long terms relationships, despite having HSV-2.
  • You learn how best to deal with oral herpes, and skin conditions linked to HSV-2. 
  • You make friends and develop a close relationship with your support system.

The most important benefit of a herpes support group is that it is a source of hope where it would have otherwise been lost. By being in a social group with people who have overcome the stigma associated with HSV-2, you learn to hope for a better future and discover that you can still find love, enjoy sex and date even with herpes. On the other hand, if you need a grief support group then mensgroup.com has you covered.

What Makes a Herpes Support Group Successful?

The participants of a herpes support group are the backbone of the success of the forum. All members need to share honestly and give constructive feedback for the benefit of all members. This way, each member can get the emotional support required to live positively with HSV-2. A support group facilitator should be able to share helpful and accurate information about living with herpes. They should also be able to correct and address any misinformation shared in the group. With a herpes support group that works, members can get positive support and lead their best life.

The 3 Best Herpes Support Groups 

Therapy Philadelphia 


If you are looking for a ‘herpes support group near me’ in Philadelphia, therapy Philadelphia is a support group for people living with herpes in your area. It provides a safe space to discuss the impact of herpes on your life and helps you to meet with people who understand you. In this group, you will learn of tips and techniques for managing herpes and get guidance to help you adjust to living with HSV-2.

Honeycomb Herpes Support Group 


This is an online herpes support forum. It gives people living with herpes a platform where they can post their questions, ideas, and advice for others to read. As a post-only forum, it offers the perfect platform for people who prefer to get support anonymously. You can create an account using a pseudonym and an avatar to gain access to this forum. The forum has sub-groups for herpes veterans, newly diagnoses individuals, and a platform for physical meetings for people living with herpes in your area.


While most herpes support groups cater to men and women, Men’s Group is an online support group for men by fellow men. It is the perfect place to get help in the current COVID-19 pandemic where physical meetings are unavailable. It offers a wide range of support groups and forums, including support groups for herpes survivors. This group is the perfect place for men with herpes looking for guidance and support to help deal with their new normal.

Generally, men have a harder time finding safe spaces where they can bear their emotions, concerns, dreams, or ideas without feeling judged or intimidated. Mensgroup offers all men a safe space where you can interact with other people living with herpes. You will learn from others who have walked in your shoes before and managed to make it through to the other side happier and better.


When not addressed, the stigma of living with herpes can take a toll on your emotions, self-esteem, and relationships. It is important to get involved in a support group like mensgroup to be able to learn how to live with herpes. At mensgroup.com, you are not your diagnosis. We will teach you how to overcome self-imposed herpes stigma and learn to smile again after a herpes diagnosis. You are not alone. Join mensgroup.com today to start the next part of your life.

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Cold sore (herpes simplex) symptoms, treatments & forums

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What is cold sore (herpes simplex)?

Oral herpes simplex is caused by human herpesviruses 1 and 2 (HSV-1 or HSV-2). It is characterized by small fluid-filled vesicles on the skin or a mucous membrane with a raised base often referred to as cold sores or fever blisters.

Common symptoms reported by people with cold sore (herpes simplex)

Reports may be affected by other conditions and/or medication side effects. We ask about general symptoms (anxious mood, depressed mood, fatigue, pain, and stress) regardless of condition.

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Living With Herpes | Common Questions and Answers

Finding out you have herpes can be tough, but it’s not the end of the world. Millions of people living with herpes have great lives and relationships.

What do I do if I find out I have herpes?

It’s normal to have lots of different feelings after you find out that you have herpes. You might feel mad, embarrassed, ashamed, or upset at first. But you’ll probably feel a lot better as time goes by, and you see that having herpes doesn’t have to be a big deal. People with herpes have relationships and live totally normal lives. There are treatments for herpes, and there’s a lot you can do to make sure you don’t give herpes to anyone you have sex with.

Millions and millions of people have herpes — you’re definitely not alone. Most people get at least one STD in their lifetime, and having herpes or another STD is nothing to feel ashamed of or embarrassed about.  It doesn’t mean you’re “dirty” or a bad person — it means you’re a normal human who got a really common infection. The reality is that herpes can happen to anybody who has ever been kissed on the lips or had sex — that’s a LOT of people.

Herpes isn’t deadly and it usually doesn’t cause any serious health problems. While herpes outbreaks can be annoying and painful, the first flare-up is usually the worst. For many people, outbreaks happen less over time and may eventually stop completely. Even though the virus hangs around in your body for life, it doesn’t mean you’ll be getting sores all the time.

The best thing to do when you find out you have herpes is follow your doctor’s directions for treating it. If you’re having a hard time dealing with the news, talking with a close friend or a support group for people living with herpes may make you feel better.

And tell anyone you have sex with that you have herpes. It’s not the easiest conversation, but it’s an important one. Here are some tips:

How do I talk with people about having herpes?

It might feel scary to admit you have herpes, but talking about things can really ease your mind. You could lean on a close, non-judgmental friend that you trust to keep the conversation private. Parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and other family members can also be a source of comfort. Remember, herpes is really common, so it’s possible the person you’re talking to has herpes, too.

There are a lot of online support groups for people who have herpes, and the American Sexual Health Association has a list of support groups that meet in person. 

What do I need to know about dating with herpes?

Some people feel like their love lives are over when they find out they have herpes, but it’s just not true. People with herpes have romantic and sexual relationships with each other, or with partners who don’t have herpes.

Talking about STDs isn’t the most fun conversation you’ll ever have. But it’s super important to always tell partners if you have herpes, so you can help prevent it from spreading.

There’s no one way to talk about having an STD, but here are some tips that may help:

  1. Keep calm and carry on. Millions of people have herpes, and plenty of them are in relationships. For most couples, herpes isn’t a huge deal. Try to go into the conversation with a calm, positive attitude. Having herpes is simply a health issue — it doesn’t say anything about you as a person.

  2. Make it a two-way conversation. Remember that STDs are super common, so who knows? Your partner might have herpes too. So start by asking if they’ve ever been tested or had an STD before.

  3. Know your facts. There’s a lot of misinformation about herpes out there, so read up on the facts and be prepared to set the record straight. Let your partner know there are ways to treat herpes and avoid passing it on during sex.

  4. Think about timing. Pick a time when you won’t be distracted or interrupted, and a place that’s private and relaxed. If you’re nervous, you can talk it through with a friend first, or practice by talking to yourself. It sounds silly, but saying the words out loud can help you know what you want to say and feel more confident when you talk to your partner.

  5. Safety first. If you’re afraid that a partner might hurt you, telling them in person might not be safe. You’re probably better off with an e-mail, text, or phone call — or in extreme cases, not telling them at all. Call 1-800-799-SAFE or visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website for help if you think you may be in danger.

So … when do you tell your new crush about your herpes status? You might not need to tell them the very first time you hang out, but you should let them know before you have sex. So when the relationship starts heading down that path and you feel like you can trust the person, that’s probably a good time.

It’s normal to be worried about how your partner’s going to react. And there’s no way around it: Some people might freak out. If that happens, try to stay calm and talk about all the ways there are to prevent spreading herpes. You might just need to give your partner a little time and space to process the news, which is normal. And most people know that herpes is super common and not a big deal.

Try not to play the blame game when you talk to your partner. If one of you has a herpes outbreak for the first time during the relationship, it doesn’t automatically mean that somebody cheated. Herpes symptoms can take days, weeks, months, or even years to show up after you get the infection. So it’s usually really hard to tell when and where someone got herpes. The most important thing is that you both get tested. If it turns out only one of you has herpes, talk about how you can prevent passing it on.

Tell your past partners too, so they can get tested.

Will having herpes affect my pregnancy?

If you’ve had genital herpes for a while and you get pregnant, you probably don’t need to worry — it’s unlikely that you’ll give herpes to your baby during birth. But you should still let your doctor know you have genital herpes if you’re pregnant, no matter what.

If you get herpes while you’re pregnant, it’s a lot more dangerous — especially late in the pregnancy. It can cause a miscarriage or cause you to deliver too early. If you give herpes to your baby during birth, it can cause brain damage or eye problems. If you have herpes sores when you go into labor, your doctor might suggest that you to have a C-section so you don’t pass the virus to your baby during delivery.

If your partner has herpes and you don’t, don’t have unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex when you’re pregnant, since that’s the most common way to get herpes. The doctor might tell your partner to take herpes medication during your pregnancy so they’re less likely to pass on the virus. Check out “How to prevent herpes” to learn more about how to avoid getting herpes. 

Oral herpes isn’t dangerous during pregnancy or birth. But if you have a cold sore after you give birth, don’t kiss your baby until the sore is totally healed.

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90,000 Billions of people worldwide are living with herpes

New estimates indicate that around half a billion people worldwide have genital herpes and several billion have oral herpes infections, indicating a need to raise awareness and scale up prevention and treatment services. disease.

In 2016, the latest year for which data are available, about 13% of the world’s population aged 15 to 49 were infected with herpes simplex virus type II (HSV-2).HSV-2 is almost exclusively sexually transmitted and causes genital herpes. The infection can lead to recurring, often painful, genital ulcers in about a third of infected people.

Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is transmitted primarily through oral contact and causes oral herpes infections, sometimes resulting in painful lesions in or around the mouth (cold sores). At the same time, HSV-1 can also affect the genital area through oral sex and cause genital herpes.

In 2016, about 67% of the world’s population aged 0 to 49 were infected with HSV-1, which is approximately 3.7 billion people. Most cases of HSV-1 infection develop oral herpes, but an estimated 122 to 192 million people infected with HSV-1 have genital herpes.

“Genital herpes is a major health problem worldwide – in addition to the potential pain and discomfort people living with the infection experience, the associated social consequences can have a profound impact on sexual and reproductive health,” says Dr. Ian Askew, Director, Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research, World Health Organization (WHO).

Herpes and HIV

In people infected with HSV-2, the risk of infection through contact with HIV infection increases at least threefold. Thus, HSV-2 may play a significant role in the spread of HIV infection worldwide. Women are more susceptible to both HSV-2 and HIV infection. The highest rates of HSV-2 prevalence and exposure to HIV infection are found among women living in the WHO African Region, placing them at the highest risk of HIV infection.

Herpes is incurable: vaccine is needed

There is no cure for herpes. Antiviral drugs such as acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir can help reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms, but they cannot cure the infection.

There is a need to raise awareness, expand access to antiviral drugs and strengthen HIV prevention among people with genital HSV symptoms worldwide. In addition, more effective treatment and prevention measures need to be developed, in particular the HSV vaccine.

“The herpes vaccine would not only help strengthen and protect the health and well-being of millions of people, especially women, around the world – it could also potentially have an impact on slowing the spread of HIV infection if developed and shared with others. HIV prevention strategies, ”says Dr Meg Doherty, Director of the WHO Department of Global Programs for HIV, Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infections.

This new study, authored by the University of Bristol, WHO and Weill Cornell College of Medicine in Qatar and published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, estimates the global prevalence and incidence of HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections in 2016.

Herpes simplex virus

Infection with herpes simplex virus, commonly called herpes, can be caused by either herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). HSV-1 is transmitted primarily through oral contact, causing
infection in or around the mouth (oral herpes). However, HSV-1 can also be transmitted through oral-genital contact and can lead to infection of the genital area (genital herpes).HSV-2 is transmitted almost exclusively through genital
contact during sex and leads to infection of the genital or anal area (genital herpes).

Both oral herpes infections and genital herpes infections are asymptomatic or unrecognized in most cases, but can cause symptoms such as painful blisters or sores at the site of infection, such as
mild to severe.

Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1)

HSV-1 is a highly contagious infection, widespread and endemic throughout the world.HSV-1 infection occurs in most cases during childhood and the infection persists for life. In the vast majority of cases, infection with HSV-1 develops
oral herpes (an infection in or around the mouth sometimes called orolabial or orofacial herpes), but in some cases, HSV-1 also causes genital herpes (infections in the genital or anal area).

Magnitude of the problem

An estimated 3.7 billion people under the age of 50, or 67% of the world’s population, were estimated to be infected with HSV-1 (oral or genital herpes) in 2016.The highest prevalence rates are estimated to be
were noted in Africa (88%), and the lowest in the Americas (45%).

Most of the HSV-1 infections were oral infections. Globally, an estimated 122 million to 192 million people aged 15-49 had genital HSV-1 infections in 2016, but the prevalence in the regions is significant.
varied. It is estimated that the largest number of infections with genital HSV-1 occurred in the Region of the Americas, the European Region and the Western Pacific Region, where HSV-1 infection continues into adulthood.

Signs and symptoms

A herpetic infection of the mouth is usually asymptomatic and most people with HSV-1 are unaware that they are infected. Among the symptoms of oral herpes, painful blisters or open lesions can be distinguished,
called sores, inside or around the mouth. Lip lesions are commonly referred to as “fever”. Before lesions appear, infected individuals often experience tingling, itching, or burning in the mouth.After initial infection, vesicles
or sores may recur intermittently. The frequency of their occurrence in different people is different.

HSV-1 genital herpes may be asymptomatic or with mild symptoms that go unrecognized. In cases where symptoms do appear, genital herpes is characterized by the appearance of one or more vesicles or
ulcers in the genital or anal area. After an initial episode of genital herpes, which can be severe, symptoms may recur.However, genital herpes caused by HSV-1 usually does not recur frequently, in contrast to
from genital herpes caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2; see below).


HSV-1 is transmitted primarily through oral contact and causes oral herpes infections due to contact with HSV-1 in the affected area, saliva, and surfaces in or around the mouth. However, due to oral-genital contact, HSV-1 can
also come into contact with the genital area and cause genital herpes.

HSV-1 can be transmitted through the surface of the mouth or skin that looks normal and has no symptoms. However, the greatest risk of transmission exists when active lesions are present.

In individuals who already have a herpes infection of the mouth, subsequent infection of the genital area with HSV-1 is unlikely.

In rare cases, HSV-1 infection can be transmitted from a mother with genital HSV-1 infection to her baby during childbirth and lead to neonatal herpes (seebelow).

Potential complications

Severe disease

In individuals with weak immune systems, such as those with advanced HIV infection, HSV-1 may cause more severe symptoms and more frequent relapses … In rare cases, HSV-1 infection can also lead to more
severe complications such as encephalitis (brain infection) or keratitis (eye infection).

Neonatal herpes

The development of neonatal herpes can occur when a newborn comes into contact with HSV in the genital tract during childbirth.Neonatal herpes is rare, with an estimated 10 out of 100,000 births worldwide, but this serious condition can lead to persistent
neurological disability or death. Women who have had genital herpes before pregnancy have a very low risk of transmitting HSV to their babies. The greatest risk of neonatal herpes occurs when a woman first becomes infected with HSV in the late
pregnancy, in part because the highest levels of HSV concentration in the genital tract are observed in the early stages of infection.


Recurrent symptoms of oral herpes can be uncomfortable and lead to some social stigma and psychological stress. In genital herpes, these factors can have significant adverse effects on
quality of life and sexual relations. However, over time, most people with some form of herpes will adjust to living with the infection.


The most effective drugs for people infected with HSV are antiviral drugs such as acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir.They help to alleviate symptoms and reduce the frequency of their occurrence, but do not lead to complete


HSV-1 is most contagious during the onset of symptoms of oral herpes, but it can also be transmitted when no symptoms are felt or observed. People with active symptoms of oral herpes should
avoid oral contact with other people and sharing objects that have come into contact with saliva.They should also refrain from oral sex to prevent herpes from getting on the sexual partner’s genitals. For people with symptoms
for genital herpes, you should refrain from intercourse while they are showing any symptoms.

Consistent and correct use of condoms can help prevent the spread of genital herpes. However, condoms can only reduce the risk of infection, since symptoms of genital herpes can appear
in places not protected by a condom.

Individuals already infected with HSV-1 may not be re-infected, but they remain at risk of infection with HSV-2 in the genital area (see below).

Pregnant women with symptoms of genital herpes should inform healthcare professionals. Preventing new infections with the genital herpes virus is especially important for women late in pregnancy because
during this period there is the highest risk of developing neonatal herpes.

More research is underway to develop more effective prevention methods for HSV infections, such as vaccines. A number of candidate HSV vaccines are under study.

Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2)

HSV-2 infection, which causes genital herpes, is widespread throughout the world and is transmitted almost exclusively through sexual contact. HSV-2 is the leading cause of genital herpes, although herpes simplex virus type 1 can also cause it
(HSV-1).HSV-2 infection persists for life and cannot be cured.

Magnitude of the problem

Genital herpes caused by HSV-2 is a global problem, with an estimated 491 million people (13%) worldwide aged 15-49 in 2016.

There are more women than men among people infected with HSV-2; an estimated 313 million women and 178 million men were living with the infection in 2016. This is because HSV is transmitted sexually more efficiently from man to woman,
than from a woman to a man.

The highest prevalence rates of HSV-2 infection are estimated to be in Africa (44% in women and 25% in men), followed by America (24% in women and 12% in men). The prevalence of infection increases with age.
although adolescents are the largest number of newly infected people.

Signs and symptoms

Genital herpes infection is often asymptomatic or with mild symptoms that go unrecognized.Most infected people are unaware that they are infected. As a rule, about a previously diagnosed genital
herpes is reported by about 10-20% of individuals infected with HSV-2. However, clinical studies that closely track primary infections have shown that up to one third of newly infected people may have symptoms.

When symptoms do occur, genital herpes is characterized by the appearance of one or more blisters or open lesions called ulcers in the genital or anal area.In addition to ulcers in the genital area, symptoms of primary
Genital herpes infections are often feverish, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes.

Symptoms often recur after an initial episode of HSV-2 herpes simplex genital infections, but they are less severe than when they first appeared. Symptoms tend to decrease over time, but they
can appear over the years. Before sores develop in the genital area, people infected with HSV-2 may experience mild tingling or shooting pain in the legs, thighs, and buttocks.


HSV-2 is transmitted mainly through sexual intercourse, through contact with genital surfaces, skin, affected areas or fluids of a person infected with this virus. HSV-2 can be transmitted through the skin in the genital or anal area,
which looks normal and is often transmitted even in the absence of symptoms.

In rare cases, HSV-2 infection can be passed from mother to child during childbirth and cause neonatal herpes.below).

Possible complications

HSV-2 and HIV

It has been proven that HSV-2 and HIV affect each other. HSV-2 infection increases the risk of HIV infection by about three times. In addition, people infected with HIV and HSV-2 are more likely to transmit HIV to others. HSV-2 is one of the most
common infections among people living with HIV infection, and occurs in 60-90% of people with HIV infection.

HSV-2 infection in people living with HIV (and other immunocompromised people) is often more severe and with more frequent relapses.In the later stages of HIV infection, HSV-2 can lead to more severe, albeit rare, complications such as
as meningoencephalitis, esophagitis, hepatitis, pneumonitis, retinal necrosis or disseminated infection.

Neonatal herpes

The development of neonatal herpes can occur when a newborn comes into contact with HSV (HSV-2 or HSV-1) in the genital tract during childbirth. Neonatal herpes is rare, with an estimated 10 out of 100,000 births worldwide, but it is a serious condition
can lead to permanent neurological disability or death.Women who have had genital herpes before pregnancy have a very low risk of transmitting HSV to their babies. The greatest risk of neonatal herpes occurs when a woman first becomes infected
HSV late in pregnancy, in part because the highest levels of HSV in the genital tract are seen in the early stages of infection.

Psychosocial Impact

Relapses of genital herpes symptoms can be painful and the infection can lead to social stigma and psychological stress.These factors can have significant adverse effects on quality of life and sexual relations.
However, over time, most people with herpes will adjust to living with the infection.


The most effective drugs for people infected with HSV are antiviral drugs such as acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir. They help to alleviate symptoms and reduce the frequency of their occurrence, but do not lead to complete


Individuals with genital HSV infection should abstain from sexual intercourse when symptoms of genital herpes appear. HSV-2 is most contagious during the onset of lesions, but it can also be transmitted when there is no
symptoms are not felt or observed.

Consistent and correct use of condoms can help reduce the risk of spreading genital herpes.However, condoms provide only partial protection because HSV can be found in areas not protected by a condom.
Male medical circumcision can provide men with lifelong partial protection against HSV-2, as well as HIV and human papillomavirus (HPV).

Individuals with symptoms suggestive of genital HSV infection should be tested for HIV, and those living in areas with high HIV prevalence should be offered more focused
HIV prevention measures such as pre-exposure prophylaxis.

Pregnant women with symptoms of genital herpes should inform healthcare professionals. Preventing new infections with the genital herpes virus is especially important for women late in pregnancy because
during this period there is the highest risk of developing neonatal herpes.

More research is underway to develop more effective methods of preventing HSV infections, such as vaccines or topical bactericides (drugs to protect against sexually transmitted infections).
in a way that can be applied intravaginally or intrarectally).

WHO work on herpes (HSV-1 and HSV-2)

Worldwide, there is a need to raise awareness of HSV infection and its symptoms, improve access to antiviral drugs and intensify prevention efforts HIV infection among people with symptoms of genital infection caused by

In addition, there is a need to develop improved treatment and prevention measures, in particular the HSV vaccine. WHO and partners are working to accelerate research to develop new strategies for the prevention and control of genital and neonatal infections,
caused by HSV-1 and HSV-2.These studies include the development of HSV vaccines and topical bactericides. A number of candidate vaccines and bactericides are under study.

obstetrician-gynecologist Galimzyanova Tamara Gabdulkhaevna.

03 December 2019

Family Health Magazine

This is a widespread sexually transmitted infection.Caused by two viruses from
family of herpes viruses: Simple virus
Herpes II or I type (HSV-II and / or HSV-I).
In most cases, the disease is caused by
HSV-II. However, recently, HSV-I,
which, as was previously believed, caused only a “cold” on the lips, due to the wide
the spread of oral sex, more and more
causes genital herpes.
Genital herpes is not a fatal disease, does not cause damage
work of internal organs, does not lead
to infertility.He’s less dangerous than others
genital infections. Genital herpes
any person living can get sick
sexual activity.

Genital herpes is transmitted by direct contact of the genitals with herpetic vesicles or sores. Besides
Moreover, transmission of the disease is possible when a person suffering from herpes does not have any
visible symptoms of the disease.
It cannot be ruled out that even you could
become the source of its infection. After all, 60-
80% of people infected with HSV-2
don’t even know about
this.They have herpes
is almost asymptomatic.
Your second
half could get infected
from the previous partner, when you may be still
were even unfamiliar. The virus could take years
“Doze” in the body, and the disease proceeds without visible symptoms, while in
the first relapse has not occurred so far.
Genital herpes appears on average
2-14 days after infection. However, in
in some cases, the disease can be asymptomatic for several years and the person does not
suspects he is infected.Before the beginning
rashes in the genital area are precursors of relapse: burning,
itching, pain, and swelling. These symptoms can
accompanied by a rise in temperature and
general malaise. Then on the skin and mucous membranes of the genitals, pubis, buttocks, thighs
bubbles are formed, filled with a transparent liquid, which soon
burst. Small painful sores form in their place. Through
sore week
heal on their own without leaving any marks on the skin.Subsequently, people with genital herpes may experience
repetitions of rashes or relapses. Frequency
relapses ranges from 2-3 times a month to
1 time in several years and depends on the individual characteristics of the human body.
Very often relapses of herpes are possible against the background of a “decrease” in immunity.
This occurs under the influence of:

  • stress or emotional distress;
  • various somatic diseases, in particular colds, flu, diabetes mellitus, HIV;
  • poisoning or intoxication;
  • when consuming alcohol, caffeine and
  • excess ultraviolet radiation;
  • hypothermia or overheating;
  • the onset of menstruation;
  • overwork and exhaustion;
  • nutritional deficiencies or disorders
  • other individual factors.

You CANNOT get genital
herpes if you drink from someone else’s glass or
glasses, herpes is not transmitted through water
in pools and baths, toilet seats,
doorknobs and friendly handshakes.
During relapse, you should avoid
contact of your skin with parts of your partner’s body that have herpes sores, but you can kiss, hug and even sleep nearby without fear.
If you suspect you have genital herpes, see your doctor.Until recently, the diagnosis was based on
examination by a doctor and laboratory examination of scraping from herpetic lesions. IN
currently in large cities of Russia
using a special blood test
antibodies to HSV-1 or HSV2 can be detected. The analysis must be taken in 2-3 months from
the moment when the infection could have occurred.
You need to understand that the tests are imperfect and can give both false positive and false negative results.

Tests cannot show when and from whom
You have become infected.It would be nice to pass and scrap
from herpetic eruptions to DNA diagnostics. Detection of a virus by this method can confirm the diagnosis.
Once in the human body, the herpes virus never leaves it.
Currently, medicine has
modern drugs that can significantly increase interrecurrent
gaps, suppress virus reproduction
herpes, while practically not causing
harm to the patient’s body. Early admission
antiherpetic drugs allows you to avoid relapses, the emergence of new
blisters, reduce itching and soreness,
accelerate the healing of ulcers.Correct and
effective treatment of genital herpes
You can only be prescribed by a qualified physician in person.

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90,000 Launch of a website for patients about herpesvirus infections herpes-expert.ru

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a chronic recurrent infection. Once in the body, it becomes a constant companion of a person. For a long time, HSV may not manifest itself in any way, but as soon as a provoking factor appears – severe stress, a change in the climatic zone, a serious concomitant disease, etc.- the virus immediately “wakes up” 2 .

According to the WHO, in 2016, about 67% of the world’s population aged 0 to 49 years old were infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), which is approximately 3.7 billion people. Most cases of HSV-1 infection have developed oral herpes, but an estimated 122 to 192 million people infected with HSV-1 have genital herpes 1 .

As a rule, while communicating with a doctor, patients often ask many questions about herpes: “How could I get infected?”, “What is a cold sore on the lips?” and etc.

Teva in cooperation with the professional medical community “Russian Herpes Forum” has created a website for patients www.herpes-expert.ru, the scientific curator of which is Professor A.A. Khaldin.

Alexey Anatolyevich has already presented the website www.herpes-expert.ru during his report at the XIII International Forum of Dermatovenereologists and Cosmetologists – IFDC2020. In his speech, the professor highly appreciated the degree of importance of this resource and turned to patients:

Dear Patients! Currently, the information space available to a wide audience contains a lot of controversial, and sometimes inaccurate information regarding herpesvirus infections.This, in turn, leads to the emergence of persistent myths and legends, which can have an extremely negative effect on mental health, leading to the formation of phobias, and cause improper treatment. In order to correct these negative phenomena, a special website www.herpes-expert.ru was created. You can contact this resource with your questions and get answers to them based on reliable information from leading experts in this field. “

Address of prof. Khaldin to patients is available at link: (link to the video message https://www.herpes-expert.ru/video/)

Teva sincerely hopes that www.herpes-expert.ru will provide patients with a reliable additional source of information.

[1] WHO press release from 05/01/2020 https://www.who.int/ru/news-room/detail/01-05-2020-billions-worldwide-living-with-herpes
[2] Methodological recommendations. Herpes simplex. CMVI. DZM of Moscow, 2016


90,000 Herpes infection: myths and prevention

Herpetic infection: myths and prevention

Published: 25.01.2019 12:47

Herpes is a viral disease with a characteristic rash of grouped vesicles on the skin and mucous membranes. This is the most common viral disease caused by HSV, that is, the herpes simplex virus. The virus family Herpesviridae can cause life-threatening diseases, infections, recurrent diseases, transplacental infections that can cause congenital malformations in children.

With the onset of cold weather, more and more people with characteristic rashes on the lips appear. It would seem that this is a common and not at all mysterious disease, but the average patient does not know anything about herpes – except that “it is such a fever on the lips.” Herodotus wrote about herpes a hundred years before our era: it was the “father of history” who gave herpes its modern name (from the Greek “herpein” – to crawl) – because of the ability of herpetic ulcers to “spread” in different directions from the primary vesicle on the skin.For many centuries of “communication” with herpes, this disease has become overgrown with myths.

Myth 1. Herpes is not contagious . Quite the opposite. Herpes is transmitted by airborne droplets (when coughing, sneezing, talking), contact (when kissing, using common utensils, lipstick) and genital tract. It is also possible that the baby is infected from the mother when passing through the birth canal. This usually happens if the mother contracted genital herpes during the third trimester of pregnancy. At the same time, her body does not have time to produce antibodies, which she transfers to the child.And if there is damage to the placenta, the child can become infected in the uterine period of development – this herpes is called congenital.

Myth 2. Herpes is a manifestation of the “cold” . In fact, herpes is an independent disease that predetermines the herpes simplex virus. Usually, it is activated by hypothermia, stress, overwork, exacerbation of chronic diseases or a decrease in general immunity.

Myth 3. If there are rashes on the lips, the cold has subsided. The common point of view, however, has nothing to do with reality. In reality, the appearance of a rash means that the previous respiratory infection has weakened the immune system, and this gave the herpes virus the opportunity to actively work.

Myth 4. If the rash has passed, the herpes is cured. That would be great, but unfortunately, it is impossible to remove the virus from the body. He stays with a person for life, and you can only force him to be in a “sleeping” state.Therefore, 95% of people have the herpes virus, and most acquire it at the age of 3-4 years, but its manifestation is only in about 20% of people.

Myth 5. You can get herpes only if you have a rash. Indeed, in the active phase of the disease, more viral particles are released and the likelihood of infection is higher. But infection can be transmitted at any time through invisible microtrauma of the skin and mucous membranes.

Myth 6. Herpes on the lips (labial) and on the genitals (genital) are two completely different diseases, with oral sex, infection does not occur. This is only partially correct. Indeed, herpes labialis is usually predetermined by the first type of herpes simplex virus (HSV-1), and genital – by the second (HSV-2). However, both types of the virus can lead to rashes on both the lips and genitals. Especially often, such a change in “place of residence” occurs just during oral sex.

Myth 7. A condom fully protects against infection with genital herpes. A condom does reduce the risk of infection, but unfortunately, it does not provide a 100% guarantee.The transmission of the virus can take place through areas of the body not covered by a condom, or through certain defects in the “rubber friend” (for example, poor quality or excessively porous).

Myth 8. The best treatment is moxibustion with alcohol, iodine or brilliant green . Moxibustion does not affect the herpes virus and its activity, but it is very easy to burn damaged skin and mucous membranes in this way. It is better to gently lubricate the rash with an antiseptic that does not contain alcohol so that a purulent infection does not join.Symptoms of herpes are treated with special antiviral drugs, such as acyclovir, which prevents the virus from multiplying. With frequent exacerbations, drugs are used that stimulate the immune system, and fortifying agents.

Myth 9. Herpes is a harmless disease and only affects the skin . In fact, herpes ranks second in mortality from viral infections, second only to SARS. The herpes simplex virus is embedded in the genome of nerve cells, so the rash occurs in the places of nerve endings and is accompanied by severe pain.Theoretically, herpes can appear wherever there is nerve tissue, which means – in almost any organ. With a decrease in general and local immunity, herpetic inflammation can develop in the mucous membrane of the mouth and larynx, the cornea and conjunctiva of the eye, lymph nodes, internal genital organs, intestines, liver, kidneys, lungs and central nervous system. With brain damage, most patients die or remain disabled. In addition, with congenital herpes, multiple developmental defects and even death of the infant are likely, and genital herpes significantly increases the risk of developing cervical cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.

How not to get herpes

  • · Practice good personal hygiene. Labial herpes is an infectious disease! Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after contact with cold sores, after applying antiviral cream.
  • · Do not touch your eyes with your hands! This is especially true for women as they do their makeup.
  • · Do not use saliva to moisten contact lenses.
  • · Do not touch areas affected by herpes! Despite the severe itching and pain, in no case touch the herpes rash, do not kiss, especially with children, do not use someone else’s lipstick and do not lend your own to anyone, do not share the same cigarette with a friend.
  • · Do not try to get rid of blisters or scabs to avoid spreading the infection to other parts of the body.
  • · Avoid oral sex. Oral sex with lip herpes can cause genital herpes in your partner.
  • · Use a separate towel and utensils, do not drink from someone else’s glasses.

90,000 Herpes: symptoms and treatment, doctor’s recommendations

Almost everyone is familiar with the “cold” on the lips.As soon as you catch a runny nose or get nervous, an unpleasant precursor immediately appears – a tingling sensation somewhere near the mouth.

Herpes simplex virus is present in 95% of people. And only a few have immunity, the reasons for which are still unclear.

The virus enters the body in early childhood: at 3 – 4 years old, when the antibodies against the herpes virus transmitted to the baby by the mother are depleted. Most often, infection occurs if the child is kissed by carriers of the infection.In addition to kissing, the virus can enter the body, for example, with saliva. It penetrates into the mucous membranes, reaches the nerve endings, rises into the cranial cavity, where it “hides” in the nerve plexus, called the trigeminal ganglion, and “sleeps” there until the moment of reactivation.

Herpes “wakes up” with a decrease in immunity

Causes of relapse of herpes on the lips: stress or emotional distress; various other diseases, in particular colds, flu, diabetes mellitus, HIV; poisoning or intoxication; drinking alcohol, caffeine and smoking; excessive ultraviolet radiation; hypothermia or overheating; the onset of menstruation; overwork and exhaustion; undernutrition / diet or upset stomach; other individual factors.

Once “awakened”, the virus travels back to the skin. When traveling through a nerve, the virus causes inflammation of the nerve tissue.

The development of herpes can be roughly divided into several stages. At the first stage, the person is feeling unwell. At the place where the “fever” appears, pain, tingling appears., The skin turns red. At the stage of inflammation, a small painful blister is formed, filled with fluid. After a while, the bubble bursts and a colorless liquid containing billions of viral particles flows out of it.A sore appears in its place. At the final stage, the sore is covered with a crust.

Herpes most often appears on the lips, but lesions can also appear on the face, ears, or mouth.

What to do if you have a “cold” on your lips

At the moment, no medicines and treatment methods have been developed that would completely destroy the herpes simplex virus in the human body.But you can give a few tips for herpes sufferers.

  • Strictly follow the rules of personal hygiene! Because cold sores are contagious, you should wash your hands with soap, and use separate dishes and a towel.

  • Do not put your hands to your eyes! And don’t wet your lenses with saliva! Herpes can affect the mucous membranes of the eyes.

  • It is not recommended to touch the viral rash, kiss.The virus can be transmitted by using one lipstick or smoking one cigarette.

  • If you try to remove the blister or crust over the ulcer, the virus can spread to other parts of the body.

  • Give up oral sex! The virus from the affected lips can cause genital herpes in a partner.

  • A young mother also needs to take certain precautions to protect her baby from getting herpes.If you have herpes sores, you should wash your hands with soap and water every time before touching the child. And in no case should the affected surface come into contact with the child’s skin.

How to minimize discomfort

It is necessary to start using anti-herpes drugs as soon as you feel a tingling sensation. Medicines will not rid you of the virus, but will stop its development and speed up recovery.There are drugs that prevent the development of the virus: tablets, ointments for external use, which help heal blisters and ulcers, and reduce discomfort.

When applying the ointment, use cotton swabs to avoid the transmission of the virus from the lips to the skin of the fingers.

Herpes requires the attention of specialists! A “cold” on the lips can be a symptom of serious diseases: a sharp decrease in immunity, cancer, HIV infection.

If you suffer from recurrent herpes, see your doctor. The specialist will not only save you from unnecessary worries and exclude health risks, but will also help you choose a comprehensive program for the prevention and treatment of herpes.

In order to make an appointment with an immunologist or dermatologist for the program for the diagnosis and treatment of herpes, call the Family Doctor clinic +7 (495) 775 75 66 (clinic working hours: Mon-Fri from 8.00 to 21.00, Sat-Sun from 9.00 to 20.00), or make an appointment and diagnosis through the on-line registration form

International Herpes Week

International Herpes Week is held in many countries around the world from November 16 to 23. The main goal of this event is to draw public attention to herpes infection and to increase public awareness of the herpes virus, with particular attention being paid to genital herpes.
International Herpes Week is held at the initiative of the International Herpes Alliance, which represents the interests of regional associations of patients and doctors at the international level, carries out informational work, explaining that genital herpes simplex is a common disease that can develop in any person, regardless of gender, nationality, social and financial situation.For the first time, the International Herpes Week was held from 18 to 25 November 2000 under the slogan: “Herpes is not a reason for discrimination.”

Herpes is a viral disease with a characteristic rash of grouped vesicles on the skin and mucous membranes. Herpes is a virus that infects a human cell, “integrating” into its genetic apparatus. Herpes can be infected by genital, airborne, generic (from mother to child during childbirth) and even by contact (through a handshake, household items, a kiss).Usually, the disease does not manifest itself until the carrier’s immunity is weakened, which can lead to hypothermia, overheating, pregnancy, large doses of alcohol, stress, infectious diseases.

Now science knows more than 100 viruses of the Herpesviridae family, but the causative agents of diseases of them are:
• Herpes simplex virus type 1 causes labial herpes, that is, herpes on the lips (HSV-1).
• Herpes simplex virus type 2 is the cause of genital herpes (HSV-2).
• Shingles or chickenpox virus (Herpes zoster).
• Cytomegalovirus (CMV).
• Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is transmitted primarily by oral-oral contact and in most cases causes orolabial herpes, or “lip herpes” around the mouth. HSV-2 is almost always sexually transmitted and causes genital herpes. According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), about 4 billion people are infected with the herpes simplex virus type 1.people under the age of 50, or about 70% of the population. Every fifth on the planet is a carrier of the herpes simplex virus HSV-2, which is the causative agent of genital herpes, while about 80% of people do not know that they are carriers of this virus.

The herpes simplex virus is capable of infecting any organ. It is characterized by a chronic course and various forms of clinical manifestation. The herpes simplex virus affects the central nervous system and causes encephalitis, encephalomyelitis, myelitis.Affecting the eyes, herpes causes uveitis, keratoconjunctivitis, and keratitis. In the liver, the herpes virus can cause hepatitis in newborns and adults. Herpes also affects the mucous membranes and skin, it is this manifestation of the herpes simplex virus that is most common.

Genital herpes is the second most common sexually transmitted infection. Herpes, unfortunately, cannot be completely cured and, once infected with this virus, a person becomes its carrier for the rest of his life.By itself, the herpes virus cannot cause death, however, advanced genital herpes can lead to an immunodeficiency state and cause cancerous lesions of the genitals.

In a typical picture of the disease, bubbles appear in the genital area, which then grow, combine with each other and, bursting, form painful ulcers. In women, the vagina itself and its vestibule, labia and cervix are most often affected. Less commonly, rashes are located on the pubis, thighs, buttocks and in the perineum.The manifestations of genital herpes are very painful. Genital herpes not only causes physical and mental pain, but also causes weakening of the immune system, causes chronic diseases of the internal genital organs and can ultimately cause both female and male infertility. Genital herpes is especially dangerous for pregnant women, who may develop a pathology of pregnancy, infection of the fetus and newborn.

Currently, no remedy has been invented that would completely cure herpes by removing the virus from the human body.However, antiviral therapy can effectively control the frequency, severity and duration of herpes recurrence. It is also necessary to lead a healthy lifestyle and eat well, avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and hypothermia, protect yourself from stress, as well as observe intimate hygiene and timely identify and treat concomitant sexually transmitted diseases.

How to avoid getting genital herpes? First of all, casual sexual intercourse should be avoided, it is imperative to use methods of barrier contraception and, preferably, in combination with means of emergency prevention.