“Is herpes curable?” is a normal question to ask if you’ve recently been infected with the herpes simplex virus type 1 or 2. Unfortunately, the simple answer to this question is “no”, although that may be changing in the near future thanks to recent breakthroughs in research.
Is Herpes Curable Today?
As of today, there is no cure for either oral or genital herpes. Once a person has contracted the virus, it will remain embedded in his or her body for the remainder of their lives. That is not to say, however, that the person will continue to experience outbreaks of blisters, sores and other herpes symptoms in men and women. In fact, it is quite common for the virus to lay dormant for long periods of time after the initial infection occurs.
It must be noted, however, that the virus remains highly contagious even during periods when no herpes outbreak symptoms are present. Although the disease cannot be cured, it can be treated through suppressive therapy which will not only decrease the frequency and severity of outbreaks in the infected individual, but reduce the chances of spreading it to others.
Can Herpes Be Cured In The Future?
Thanks to significant advances in research for a genital herpes vaccine in 2011, there is considerable optimism in the medical community that we will eventually be able to eradicate the virus. While the HerpV vaccine that made news this past year holds the potential to stop the spread of genital herpes to uninfected people, research into viral genome codes by scientists at Duke University has raised the possibility that doctors may soon be able to permanently “turn off” the virus in infected individuals as well. There is no exact time frame for when either of these medical breakthroughs will become available to the public, but it event appears increasingly likely to occur in our lifetime.
An Important Note on the Subject of “Is Herpes Curable?”
Until researchers succeed in eradicating the herpes simplex virus once and for all, physicians will continue to prescribe suppressive therapy as treatment for infections. An important step in this process is to, of course, accurately identify cases of infection as they occur. For this reason, regular testing for herpes is recommended for anyone who is sexually active with multiple partners.
Although the question “is herpes curable?” does not yet have the answer that we’d all like to hear, it does serve as an important reminder about the need for regular testing and the practice of safe sex in order to prevent the spread of the disease.