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?”


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 (4,256 Responses)
  1. Lucas Collis

    Great site. Cheers for posting.

    April 19, 2021 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. ed treatment tablets

    erectile rings https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile tissue

    April 19, 2021 at 11:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. ed over the counter cvs

    erectile function after prostatectomy https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile disorder icd 10

    April 19, 2021 at 11:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Meridith Magruder

    Very good site,thank you very much for your time in writing the posts.


    April 19, 2021 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. aktif takipçi satın al

    Türk, gerçek, aktif ve en güvenilir instagram takipçi satın al.


    April 19, 2021 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. cheap vardenafil

    vardenafil vs tadalafil vs viagra which gives better erection? https://vegavardenafil.com/ vardenafil hcl 20mg tab

    April 19, 2021 at 13:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Karisa Ritell

    Great site. Thanks for showing us.

    April 19, 2021 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. buying canadian cialis

    cialis on line purches canadian pharmacy https://canadacialisstore.com/ cialis viagra combination canadian pharmacy

    April 19, 2021 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Vern Studdard

    Very good site,thank so much for your time in writing the posts.

    April 19, 2021 at 13:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Milo Redondo

    Great site. Thanks for posting.


    April 19, 2021 at 13:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Trina Bostelmann

    Great blog. Thanks for showing us.


    April 19, 2021 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Milton Persaud

    Great blog. Thanks for posting.


    April 19, 2021 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. hMWgTDKuCl

    high school homework help websites glass castle essay writing custom usb driver doing homework is good/not good for you

    April 19, 2021 at 14:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. sildenafil tablet brand name in india

    sildenafil drug https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ sildenafil soft tablets

    April 19, 2021 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. where to get sildenafil online

    cheap sildenafil citrate uk https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ sildenafil 50 mg coupon

    April 19, 2021 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. หน้าหลักw88

    I visited many blogs however the audio feature for audio
    songs existing at this site is truly marvelous.

    April 19, 2021 at 15:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. nba news

    Express Your Love For Soccer With Football Cufflinks giày bóng rổ Every sport has specific way of promoting its game. Football fans are famous for wearing stuff like scarves and hats along with many fans decide either to make funny outfits also. The type that you with regard to needs to be able to light and soft in order to do not get side tracked. There are well known brands tend to be known for designing ideal in comparison to its sports supplies. Rather opt for such brands as opposed to scarves are usually sold by the street four corner.


    April 19, 2021 at 15:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Ronald Wheldon

    Hi, This is great tips for natural hair which is helpful for me. Thanks for sharing.


    April 19, 2021 at 15:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. average perscription pills taken by 65 year old canadian?

    canadian diet pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian pills online

    April 19, 2021 at 17:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. thedo

    There are some other traditions that always accompany the Navy football team xem bong da truc tuyến For example, the "E" Bell rings whenever Navy beats Army most of the three seasons of divertissement. This bell is from the bridge of USS Enterprise, a famed World War II aircraft carrier. It really has been a tradition since 1950. The Gokokuji Bell is a replica with a bell which brought into the United States by Commodore Matthew Perry in 1854. The original bell, which was donated to your Academy by his widow, was retur ned to Okinawa in 1988. This bell is also rung each time the team scores a football victory over their Army rivalry. This bell sits in front of Bancroft Hall in Annapolis.


    April 19, 2021 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. average perscription pills taken by 65 year old canadian?

    canadian pharmacies ed pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian weight loss pills

    April 19, 2021 at 21:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. mdaBBwCnXw

    the effects of birth order essay critical essay help higher help i can't focus on my homework winston churchill primary homework help

    April 19, 2021 at 21:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. video of transurethral alprostadil admimistering

    alprostadil muse doesn't work https://alprostadildrugs.com/ where to buy alprostadil gel

    April 19, 2021 at 21:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. w88 ทาง-เข้า

    Hi colleagues, good post and pleasant urging commented here, I
    am in fact enjoying by these.

    April 19, 2021 at 22:42 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73

Leave a Reply to Maya


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

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.