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February 25th, 2010
02:33 PM ET

When will we see a herpes cure?

As a feature of CNNhealth.com, our team of expert doctors will answer readers' questions. Here's a question for Dr. Gupta.

From Lloyd Bartley, Bowling Green, Kentucky

“How close are scientists to developing a cure for herpes, figuratively speaking will we be seeing a break through in 10, 20, or even 30 years?”

Answer:

Well, Lloyd, there is good news and bad news on the herpes front. The good news: Researchers have made serious strides and now better understand the mechanism behind herpes outbreaks. The bad news: There is very little funding for that research.

After receiving your question we reached out to a leading herpes expert, Bryan Cullen, the director at the Center for Virology at Duke University. Cullen is hopeful that a cure for herpes could come within 10 years, once funding hurdles are crossed.

Nearly one in five people over age 12 in the U.S. is affected by herpes. It is caused by a virus - either the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Both strains can cause genital herpes, but HSV-1 usually infects the mouth and produces cold sores.

Despite funding challenges, Cullen and his team are inching closer to a cure. They conducted a study recently that identified the pathway herpes takes as it infects. They now know how herpes embeds itself into the cells and how it eludes treatment. Now that they have honed in on the physiology of the disease - and its triggers - researchers believe they are steps closer to creating drugs that could cure herpes.

While we wait for a cure, there are drugs out there that can at least suppress herpes. Three antiviral drugs: acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir are commonly recommended to quell outbreaks. A physician might recommend taking these drugs when an outbreak occurs to quiet symptoms; or taking them continuously to reduce the likelihood of an outbreak.

And of course the best way to avoid spreading herpes is to abstain from sex, but if you are sexually active, engage in safe-sex practices such as using condoms.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.


Filed under: Expert Q&A • Sex • Virus

soundoff (1,358 Responses)
  1. ashley wood

    ashley wood from USA i want to share a story with anyone else going through a genital herpes infection. I was embarrassed about my condition, and thus the pixellation in the comments. After dating a guy back in 2011, i discovered what i thought was a case of the flu, but my doctor told me I had contacted Herpes Simplex. My boyfriend also had it, and had transmitted the infection to me, He claimed to be clueless about it. I developed a rash around my genital area, and then i later split up with him, now ex-boyfriend. After getting over the breakup, i became more objective about my condition, and started looking for a cure to rid it of this infection. I became disaffected with conventional treatments, in that you have to take some large pills every day, or large doses of antiviral medicine every time you feel another rash is developing. This is an awkward and ineffective way to rid an infection.
    Then my friend, also a herpes sufferer, confided she had found a cure to get rid of her infection, which she had found a herbal doctor whose name is Dr obadan "Get Rid of Herpes.” The treatment that was delivered to her worked for both of them. In conclusion,if you too are suffering in silence,to reach him email him. obadanbalhome@gmail.com

    June 21, 2015 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Robert Kertesz

    I was told i had Genital Herpes six months ago. of course it was the worst experience ever and i thought my life was over. So i went online to find things i can do from prevent getting outbreaks and maybe even cure this. I found someones story and how it possibly cured him. ive only had once outbreak which was the first one and i havent had another in six months. This is what i did! Vitamin D one tablet 3x a day, Vitamin C one tablet 3x a day, L-Lysine one tablet 3x a day.You can also take tea tree one tablet 3x a day, everynight after a shower i clean my lower back and make sure its nice & clean i add DSMO cream Mix with 8 drops of oregano and put it on your lower back. The DSMO cream is the one ive heard that can possibly cure it so that is the most important, im soon going to get tested again and im praying to God it comes out negative. I am very happy, that is why i am here to testify on how Dr ADESUWA helped me and how he has help people that i have directed to him, i am not shy to broadcast about how i suffered of HERPES disease because i am free now, i was positive for 3 years but now i am HERPES Negative now with the help of Dr ADESUWA Herbal Medicine. My dear friends, i am glad to say Dr ADESUWA cured me and made my family happy again. he can cure any disease or sickness so i advice you to contact him if you have any problem you can contact him today via Email: dradesuwaspelltemple@gmail. com or call +2347054396436

    June 29, 2015 at 17:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. www.torreprima-holidays.it

    Hello
    Last year I made a trip to Tuscany with my boyfriend. We are nature lovers and Tuscany is the ideal destination for this. We made many excursions in the medieval villages and cities of art. We stayed in a farmhouse near St. Gimigano really nice; It called Torre Prima.
    http://www.torreprima-holidays.it http://www.torreprima-holidays.it//

    July 2, 2015 at 05:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. annonymous

    hi lacey I am a 22 year old female who was recently diagnosed with the herpes type 1 ... extremely painful I got them around the inner part of my bum it has been almost a month the sores are just about gone ! and I am relieved about them being just about gone but I am absolutely devastated about having this virus ... I just recently told my boy friend about it and he is a 25 y.o male who now is in fear of having sex with me because of it .. I did not get this virus from him... I am just curious to know what the difference is between the two types type 1 which I have and type 2... I keep being told type 1 is the more common cold sore most people get but I would like to know if I have no sores, signs, or symptoms can I still pass this to another partner?? thanks lacey I hope you can help me out!

    September 9, 2014 at 17:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Emily

    Hello everyone, i want to tell about how i was cured of Herpes an embarrassing genital disease by a Doctor called Oduduwa Akpen. I was browsing through the Internet searching for remedy on STD and i saw comment of people talking about how Doctor Oduduwa cured them. I Was scared because i never believed in the Internet but i was convince to give him a try because i having no hope of been cured of Herpes and other infections so i decided to contact him with his email that was listed on the comment (oduduwahealingnetwork@gmail.com ) when i contacted him he gave me hope and send a Herbal medicine to me that i took and it seriously worked for me, am a free person now without problem. I pray for you Dr. Oduduwa God will give you everlasting life, you shall not die before your time for being a sincere and a honest men. Am so happy, you can also contact him if you have any Sexually Transmitted disease please Email: oduduwahealingnetwork@gmail.com. He will definitely put an end to your embarrassment.

    June 11, 2015 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.