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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 (2,109 Responses)
  1. Laura Mildred

    God bless Dr. Okasi for his marvelous work in my life, I was diagnosed of HERPES since 2017 and I was taking my medications, I wasn't satisfied i needed to get the HERPES out of my system, I searched out some possible cure for HERPES i saw a comment about Dr.Okasi, how he cured HERPES,DIABETES,HIV,EX_LOVER BACK and CANCER with his herbal medicine, I contacted him and he guided me. I asked for solutions, he started the remedy for my health, he sent me the medicine I took the medicine as prescribed by him and 14 days later i was cured from HERPES, Dr. Okasi truly you are great, do you need his help also? Why don’t you contact him through his EMAIL: okasiherbalsolution@ outlook. com.....

    October 31, 2019 at 16:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Karen Ralph

    who will believe that a herb can cure herpes, i never believe that this will work i have spend a lot when getting drugs from the hospital to keep me   healthy, what i was waiting for is death because i was broke, one day I saw this great man testimonies in internet who is well know of HIV and Cancer cure and Herpes Simplex Virus, i decided to email him, unknowingly to me that this will be the end of the herpes in my body, he prepare the herb for me, and give me instruction on how to take it, at the end of the one month, he told me to go to the hospital for a check up, and i went, surprisingly after the test the doctor confirm me negative, i thought it was a joke, i went to other hospital was also negative, then i took my friend who was also herpes positive to the Dr. Ehi after the treatment she was also confirm negative . He also have the herb to cure cancer. please i want every one with this virus to be free, that is why am dropping his email address,   ehigreathome@gmail.com or  ehigreathome@gmail.com do email him he is a great man. the government is also interested in this DR, thank you for saving my life, and I promise I will always testify for your good work email him at :     ehigreathome@gmail.com
    Dr.  website: http://Www.ehigreatherbalhome.yolasite.com

    November 1, 2019 at 19:28 | Report abuse | Reply
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  4. Keren Raiph

    who will believe that a herb can cure herpes, i never believe that this will work i have spend a lot when getting drugs from the hospital to keep me   healthy, what i was waiting for is death because i was broke, one day I saw this great man testimonies in internet who is well know of HIV and Cancer cure and Herpes Simplex Virus, i decided to email him, unknowingly to me that this will be the end of the herpes in my body, he prepare the herb for me, and give me instruction on how to take it, at the end of the one month, he told me to go to the hospital for a check up, and i went, surprisingly after the test the doctor confirm me negative, i thought it was a joke, i went to other hospital was also negative, then i took my friend who was also herpes positive to the Dr. Ehi after the treatment she was also confirm negative . He also have the herb to cure cancer. please i want every one with this virus to be free, that is why am dropping his email address,   ehigreathome@gmail.com or  ehigreathome@gmail.com do email him he is a great man. the government is also interested in this DR, thank you for saving my life, and I promise I will always testify for your good work email him at :     ehigreathome@gmail.com
    Dr.  website: http://Www.ehigreatherbalhome.yolasite.com

    November 4, 2019 at 00:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. christ callum

    Name: Dr.NORUWA.
    WEBSITE: DRNORUWASPELLHOME.WORDPRESS.COM
    I“m given you 100% guarantee, I used to suffer from HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS for about 3 years. No medications or treatments ever really did anything for me (i tried them all no one work. but I was actually able to completely cure HERPES naturally after countless hours of online research. What worked for me is as follows: I saw Dr NORUWA Information online that he normally cure and treat disease and infirmities with his Herbal Medicine, I never really believed the people who where recommending him thou i saw on blog about 6 people where also testifying on how they were cured by Dr NORUWA, and still Ellen recommend Dr NORUWA who uses herbal medication to cure HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS and gave me his email, so i mail him He told me all the things I need to do and also give me instructions to take, which I followed properly.Before I knew what is happening after two weeks the HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS that was in my body got vanished. so if you are also heart broken and also need a help, if you are infected with any disease like HIV,AIDS, CANCER,HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS, or any other disease you can also be happy like me by contacting....., soon as you have getting in touch
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    November 7, 2019 at 15:59 | Report abuse | Reply
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    November 12, 2019 at 01:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. doctorsambolaherbalfoundation

    I Cure Different Types Of Human Infections And Diseases Using Natural Roots And Herbs. My major areas of concentration are Sexually transmitted infections (STI), also referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and venereal diseases (VD)” my website; https://sambolaherbalfoundation.wordpress.com or email: sambolaherbalfoundation@gmail.com

    November 12, 2019 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Vanessa Bayer

    I met ( Robinsonbuckler@) yahoo . com on net that claimed he can help me out.He cured me from Herpes with his herbal remedy, it took me 3 years to find this cure, my health is back together, if you need help go to His website Robinbuckler.com, Whatsapp phone number +1 (502) 443 8691…

    November 12, 2019 at 19:47 | 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.