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.
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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.
Am so sorry for infringing on your privacy, please have you done your std test?
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I want to recommend Ohikhobo's remedy for an easy and faster way to get rid of any kind of disease . I recently got cured from herpes with his remedy. You can get Ohikhobo's contact on my blog https://tommyjones199.blogspot.com
I and my spouse suffered from HSV, herpes simplex virus for over 14 years without a possible way of get rid of it,one day, we had a dream life with early retirement and then, when we went to find out about the weakness, our whole world almost changed. There are so many things that can be said abt the suffering and frustration of people with herpes, we look back now and realize in many ways how lucky we were to found w w w multivitamincare .org that was able to get rid of herpes virus totally and as for my spouse. I was BLOWN AWAY by how effective the herbal formula. Simply blown away!. Do yourself a favor and trust this product. It worked for us, it's worked for others, it could very well work for you.
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Am from the United state. I caught genital herpes from my ex boyfriend who never had any symptoms of herpes .
I had it for 4 years and it has literally affected my life before I got cured.
People think herpes is really a minor skin irritation, herpes has long term effects on health.
The stigma attached to this virus by ignorant people is ridiculous.
Most people have herpes in one form or another but they might not be aware of it.
I would like to advise people on how I got rid of my herpes by using Dr.Ogba Kosu medicine.
I saw a comment posted by a woman from Ireland on the internet that she got rid of her herpes with the help of Dr.Ogba Kosu
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Has anyone ever tried MULTIVITAMIN HERBAL CURE for herpes simplex? I have had cold sores since I was a child. I used to have them one after the other. One would heal and another would be right behind it. When I got married, I started using this herbal remedies and chanced on these two. It took a while but I persisted taking these natural herbs every day. The persistent sores gradually disappeared and never came back not until this date. My mother had them all her life. Now I am 60 years ,the people I have also recommended the herbal remedy to has a similar result to mine. Am recommending this herbal formula to anyone with HSV1/2 visit their website multivitamincare org
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