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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.

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Filed under: Expert Q&A • Sex • Virus

soundoff (2,055 Responses)
  1. famvir

    All thanks to Dr Bude for curing my HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS / HPV with his herbal medicine, i do not have much to say but with all my life i will for ever be grateful to him and God Almighty for using Dr Bude to reach me when i thought it was all over, today i am happy with my life again after the medical doctor have confirmed my HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS / HPV of 5 is gone, i have never in my life believed that HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS could be cured by herbal medicine. so i want to use this means to reach other persons who have this disease by testifying the power of Dr Bude that all hope is not lost yet, try and contact him by any means for any kind of disease with his email: ( [email protected] ) or +2349035820114.

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    April 27, 2019 at 23:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Tina Philipa

    Žádný problém Zlato

    April 28, 2019 at 08:54 | Report abuse | Reply
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  4. Mariam JOHNSON

    All thanks to Dr Omini I am here to share a good testimony of my self on how i came in contact with a real herbalist who helped me. i appreciate everyone for taken their precious time to read my testimony, 6 months ago i was diagnosed of HERPES, this means that 6 months ago i was HERPES positive when i told one of my good friend about this, she sympathized with me and then she said that she was going to help me out, she told me that we should do some research on the Internet, we came across Dr Omini and my friend said that she has come across a lot about him and said that he is a real herbalist remedy to all illness, i was really surprised on this and confused as well, I was so speechless and quickly i contact him to help me and he prepared some herbs for me and send it across to me and he told me the way i was going to be taken the medicine which i did, and in the next 2 weeks i went to the hospital and they said that i am now HERPES negative, i am very happy about this, when i contacted Dr igbraese again to tell him the good result , i asked him how he was able to help me, and he said that he was gifted with it that he can cure any disease. also reach him too because health is wealth ' via email ominispecialherbs1@gmail.com

    May 13, 2019 at 18:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Harisson jayden

    get herpes cure today from Dr lucky tremendeousherbalhome@gmail.com he is a very caring man who works with herbs to eliminate the herpes virus contact him and be happy thanks

    May 15, 2019 at 21:00 | 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.