There is hope. Some experimental drugs have given patients hope that this disease will be cured one day.
Genital herpes, which is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, has no cure. Experimental drugs are the new option offering hope to patients.
Let’s discuss the future of genital herpes in detail.
• Acyclovir & Genital Herpes:
Acyclovir can be considered the first drug used to treat genital herpes. The three previous medications we mentioned can prevent viral transmission by 50%. However, herpes simplex viruses have developed a resistance to Acyclovir so it is now not effective at all in preventing viral transmission.
Immunocompromised patients should not take Acyclovir at all.
If you searched for Pritelivir, you will find that it is one of the few drugs that are able to stop viral shedding in genital herpes patients. It deactivates the virus making its transmission during sexual intercourse to other partners more difficult.
The drugs were tested on animals and on some patients with genital herpes especially herpes simplex type 2.
There are many studies performed on this drug. One of them was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine and was done on 156 patients for one month. The results were promising as the viral shedding decreased significantly.
Another study was done by investigators at the University of Washington found that Pritelivir lowered the rate of genital herpes simplex shedding and reduced the days of outbreaks in a dose-dependent manner.
You can check the study from here: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1301150.
The old treatments of genital herpes depended on nucleoside analogues. These treatments were able to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus to other sexual partners. However, they were not able to prevent viral shedding.
These treatments are not even effective in immunocompromised patients because their bodies develop resistance to them.
The studies done on Pritelivir found huge improvement regarding viral shedding in addition to decreasing the risk of transmission.
More research needs to be done but up till now, the results are promising.
• How to Find If You Have Genital Herpes or Not?
Many herpes simplex patients don’t know that they carry the virus because the symptoms they have are mild or they are asymptomatic. That is why people should know how to recognize whether they have genital herpes or not.
When you know how to suspect that you have herpes, you will be able to avoid any sexual contact until you figure out how to have sex safely.
If the tests confirmed that you have herpes, you should avoid any kind of sexual contact during the outbreak in order to prevent the transmission of the disease to your partner.
The first symptom of genital herpes is the appearance of blisters and sores on or around the genital area. Once you notice that there is any kind of clusters of blisters, schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately and get these lesions checked.
• There Is No Cure:
Genital herpes does not have a cure; that is a fact. Once the virus enters the body, it goes to a nerve cell and lives there activating itself once a while causing an outbreak. The outbreak may have severe symptoms and it may be asymptomatic.
Up till now, there are three medications out there which offer symptomatic treatment. These medications are acyclovir (Zovirax), Famiclovir (Famvir) and valacyclovir (Valtrex). They are taken once the patient feels that the outbreak is about to occur to suppress the symptoms.
These antiviral drugs are not effective against viral shedding and there is a risk of transmission of the disease.
• Genital Herpes Outbreaks:
Genital herpes consists of periods of attacks (episodes or outbreaks) of the symptoms and periods free of any symptoms.
The first (initial) outbreak is usually the worst.
The symptoms include:
- Tingling sensations, itching around the genitals, and burning sensations on or around the genitals.
2. Fever, Headache, Malaise, and Anorexia (Flu-Like Symptoms).
3. Body aches including back pain and pain in the limbs especially in the leg.
4. Burning Sensation during Urinating.
If you didn’t interfere immediately and get yourself checked by a doctor, the case will be worse and the symptoms may last for a month or more.
The next outbreaks (recurrent outbreaks) are usually less severe and shorter in time. Over time, the body develops immunity to the virus making the symptoms less severe.
Notice that the symptoms vary. Some patients have atypical cases of genital herpes. For example, instead of having blisters, they will have cracks in the skin or pimples. Other patients may experience the worst outbreak as one of the recurrent outbreaks not as the first outbreak.
- • The Most Common Affected Areas:
In female patients, the most common affected areas are the vulva and the beginning of the vaginal canal. Also, the cervix can be affected and some herpes sores can appear on and around it.
In male patients, herpes sores appear on the head and shaft of the penis. Some sores may exist on the testicles too.
The less common areas include anal area, buttocks, and thighs.
• Medical Diagnosis of Genital Herpes:
If you suspect that you have genital herpes or if there is any kind of lesions on or around your genitals, you should discuss the matter with your doctor immediately. The earlier you get checked, the better and more accurate the diagnosis will be.
Swab tests are the most common method to confirm whether the patient has genital herpes or not. The doctor will take a sample from the fluid in the blisters or a swab from the existing lesions (ulcers) and get it analyzed.
If the patient is positive for genital herpes, the doctor will perform a full genital check to find out if the patient has any other sexually transmitted diseases.
Women may also have a PAP smear to make sure whether the disease affected the cervix or not.
• The Conclusion:
It is a terrible disease up till now and there is no absolute cure for it. However, the new studies say that there is hope. Once they develop a drug that is able to get rid of the virus from the nerve cells, the problem will be solved forever.