Herpes Treatment

Usual cure

Currently, there is no treatment to cure herpes; however, there is no cure for any virus at this point. There are three antiviral medications (in pill form) approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that are available for the treatment of herpes: Zovirax® (acyclovir), Famvir® (famciclovir) and Valtrex® (valacyclovir).

Each of these medications can be used during a recurrence to help speed the healing process of an outbreak. All three drugs are FDA approved for daily, suppressive therapy to help reduce the frequency of outbreaks.

· Zovirax is also available in the form of an ointment, but the medication has been proven to be much more effective when taken orally.

· Valtrex, when taken daily (suppressive therapy) by a person with recurrent genital herpes, can reduce the risk of transmission to a partner.

According to the manufacturers, the most common short-term side effects reported were nausea and headaches. These medications have never been noted to cause any long-term side effects. Using medication to treat genital herpes is not required. However, if a person would like to use antivirals, speaking with a health care provider can help determine which treatment may be right for them.

You can speak to your doctor about the proper medications for you. Over-the-counter creams and/or ointments are not recommended for genital herpes.

Any sexually active person may contract genital herpes. However, herpes can be prevented and there are ways to reduce risk.

· If someone has a symptom around the mouth (oral herpes), she or he should not perform oral sex until all signs have healed.

· If someone has signs or symptoms around the genital region (genital herpes), he or she should not have sexual activity until all signs have healed.

· When there are no symptoms present, using latex condoms for genital-to-genital contact reduces the risk of transmission.

· One antiviral medication for herpes, valacyclovir (Valtrex®), has recently been shown to reduce the risk of herpes transmission. When taken daily by a person with a history of recurrent genital herpes, valacyclovir can reduce the risk of transmission to a partner who does not have the virus by 50%. It’s likely that a combination of suppressive valacyclovir and condoms provides greater protection than either method alone.

· Microbicides/Spermicides have not been proven to reduce the risk of transmission. If used, they should be used with a condom, not in place of one.

· Partner communication. It is important for both partners to become educated about herpes and to make decisions together about which precautions are best.

· If your partner has herpes, using condoms for sexual activity and not having sex while symptoms are present will reduce the risk of transmission.

Pregnacy and Herpes
It is important to avoid contracting herpes during pregnancy as herpes can be life threatening to an infant. It is rare for infants to contract herpes. Twenty percent to 25 percent of pregnant women have genital herpes. Less than 0.1 percent of babies contract genital herpes. A mother helps the baby by passing her antibodies to the infant during pregnancy. Women who acquire genital herpes before becoming pregnant have a low risk of passing the virus to their baby.

A woman who contracts genital herpes during the third trimester of pregnancy is at a higher risk of passing herpes to the baby because she has not had time to build up antibodies to the virus. Most mothers with genital herpes have normal vaginal deliveries. The doctor should do a thorough visual exam at the onset of labor.

If a woman has symptoms at the time of delivery, a Caesarean section is recommended. If an infant does contract herpes during delivery, the symptoms tend to show within two to three weeks after birth. Medication may help prevent or reduce the lasting damage to an infant if treated early.

After birth, herpes can be passed to a baby by receiving a kiss from someone with a cold sore on the mouth (oral herpes).

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