The Half Billion Herpes Cases Around the World

The herpes simplex virus 2 has spread far and wide across the world. Studies estimate that there must be over half a billion cases of herpes, with over 24 million new cases coming up every year.

The reason why the virus is spreading like such an epidemic and remains in such large numbers is due to the fact that there still have not been a definitive cure found for herpes. Hence, once a person is affected by herpes, they will have to keep it for life.

Statistics from the World Health Organization show some worrying facts about herpes and its affect throughout the globe. About sixteen percent of people between the age range of fifteen to forty nine are affected by genital herpes, which means about 536 million people are out there carrying the herpes virus. Furthermore, about 24 million more people become infected by the herpes each year.

Studies also show that women are more prone to catching the genital herpes virus than men. Statistics show that European men have the least chances of having herpes, about 13%, whereas Sub-Saharan women in Africa had the most chance, which was a shocking 70%.

However, researchers do note that many areas do not have reliable or recent details regarding herpes to base any strong facts on. Furthermore, they also realize that many people are not even aware that they carry the genital herpes virus in their body, as they might not be showing any symptoms of the infection at all.

The Herpes Vaccine: On its way or still a dream?

Herpes is a word that is signals fear and a lifelong tale of infection, pain, shame and misery. So far, there is no known cure for herpes, and anyone who does contract herpes will just have to deal with the matter. There are 24 million people in the United States of America who suffer from genital herpes. However, recent developments in research shows that there may be, in fact, an actual prevention for herpes.

Herpes Vaccine Yes or NoDoctors are constantly studying how herpes works in the body and what prevention mechanism the body takes in order to control it. On this certain case researchers are more interested in the kind of measures the immune system makes to stop the herpes virus from spreading. This is done by taking skin samples from those who are affected by herpes and have sores that are healing or skin that are not completely affected.

Doctors used to think that the herpes virus would travel from the nerve cell to the tip, causing painful sores at the skin. Since antibodies are not always available in every patient’s body, this case would be generally unhindered by anything from the immune system. However, they were in for a surprise.

After taking the skin samples, putting in the fluorescent stain and putting the sample under a powerful microscope, the doctors discovered a variety of cells with the immune system has to curb any virus outbreak. Their attention, in order to create a herpes vaccine, moved to a particular type of cell called CD8 killer T cells.

More About CD8 killer T cells

  • CD8 killer T cells do not work like the ordinary white blood cells.
    They do not produce antibodies which deactivate the body of the foreign particle. CD8 killer T cells do exactly what they were named for- they kill the virus infected cells in the body.
  • CD8 cells are discovered to be around the skin, guarding the nerve ends, from where the herpes virus usually appears and creates painful sores.
    Viruses work differently from other microorganisms. Viruses replicate by entering the cell of the host body; then the virus takes over the nucleus, and programs the cell to create copies of the virus, after which the virus copies burst out of the now very dead cell.
  • The CD8 killer T cells are thought to be the second base of protection in the body.
    If the cell is infected by viruses, the CD8 killer T cells release perforin, a chemical that instantly kills the cell in the body so that it can no longer create copies of the virus. Thus, the number of viruses do not increase. Researchers tested this phenomenon by placing CD8 killer T cells in an area with no herpes virus, and it did not release perforin, thus keeping the cells around t intact.
  • The CD8 killer T cells are capable of more than just killing off infected cells.
    Researchers observed that CD8 cells can release chemicals that will summon other CD8 cells to come to the scene of crime where the viruses are being fought.
  • CD8 killer T cells are also capable of remaining on the skin for an extended period of time.
    To add more, CD8 killer T cells also show signs of keeping memory, where it can recognize different types of infections.
  • Unlike many other immune cells, the CD8 killer T cells are known to exist in the skin, especially on the nerve endings where the herpes virus usually breaks out from.
    Since the patients being observed are herpes patients, this is the only form of behavior observed so far from the CD8 cells. In fact, doctors have discovered that the CD8 cells usually do a pretty good job in keeping the viruses at bay. The outbreaks, compared to the curbing that the CD8 does, are few and exceptional cases.

So are CD8 killer T cells the magical solution and prevention for genital herpes? Researchers have advised to not keep our hopes up too high. There is still very little known of the CD8 cells and what they are capable of. So, while we can sit and dream of a world where herpes is not a major threat, science has a long way to go to make CD8 cells the new penicillin.

Trial Gel May Provide Limited Protection Against Herpes

It comes as no surprise that scientists all over the world tire away trying to find out remedies and defences against different types of diseases. According to a study done in South Africa, there happens to be a drug that is used to treat AIDS, which could be used to create a vaginal gel that could provide protection against herpes. Dr. Salim Abdool Karim is a crucial member of the Centre for the AIDS Program of Research. According to him, the potent gel is known as the tenofovir gel, a drug that could be the best form of guard against the disease for women, if only it receives approval and gets mass-produced.

As most people understand, genital herpes is a terrifying condition that infects even the best of us. While it is not fatal, it has its set of physical, mental and social implications that tend to bring down the patients. In South Africa, the rate of herpes infection is as high as 50-60%. Moreover, in the Sub-Saharan Africa, the rate is as sky-high as 80% among women! According to the gel research team, most genital ulcers are the result of genital herpes.

Condoms are, without a doubt, the best form of protection against genital herpes. However, they do not allow the coverage of the entire groin area, which leaves people with the chance of still acquiring it via contact.

A placebo gel is an inert gel that was used in a controlled experiment to test the efficacy of the tenofovir gel. What the experts did was provide the gel to a group of women (422 of them, to be exact), which resulted in an astounding annual infection rate of just 10.2%! In comparison, the women who took the placebo gel showed an annual infection rate of 21%. Basically, half of these women were given applicators along with the placebo gel, while the other half received applicators with the tenofovir gel. The key was to apply the gel within 12 hours before they had sex and within 12 hours after they had had sex. The results were taken off from the results seen over the course of 18 months. The gel worked finest for all those women who swore to use it at all times: the presence of the drug in the vagina decreased the chances of acquiring herpes to as low as 6% only.

Dr. Celum, also known as the director of the International Research Center at the University of Washington, agreed that the risks of herpes were highly reduced with the help of the gel. According to Dr. Celum, this gel holds a lot of importance, since there is a lack of methods of preventing the transfer of genital herpes during sex, aside from the use of condoms.

Dr. Salim has informed us that those who assume that taking tenofovir tablets might do the trick are mistaken. Although there will be a certain degree of effect, it will not do the same job as the tenofovir gel. The effect of tenofovir was found when working with HIV; oral tenofovir could very well prevent and treat HIV, reducing the chances of acquiring it to just 39%. Probably one of the best finds about this gel is that it has almost no side effects: the only possible side effect is a chance of facing diarrhoea. Since it is a gel formulation, a very low amount will be absorbed into the blood supply of the user, which will ensure least possible side effects. This fact will only encourage women to make use of the gel to the maximum. A few individuals voiced the fear of the tenofovir gel affecting the internals of the women who use it, such as the bones, kidneys, etc. However, the researchers have stated that the gel will most certainly not cause such harm to the body.

Possibly the biggest question concerning this gel is: how well are women going to embrace it and put it to use? Regarding the matter, Dr. Salim Karim has said that the marketing of the tenofovir gel depends entirely upon the degree of which women believe themselves to be at risk. He has also mentioned that most women do not really understand the graveness of the risk of acquiring herpes, today.

Research Shows That Weed Could Help Herpes Patients

To this day, many forms of studies and experiments have been carried out to help the herpes-struck community to the maximum. There has been a fair share of researches carried out to discover natural methods to soothe the effects of herpes or to delay the recurrent outbreaks. One of the most recent and most surprising research finding was that weed or marijuana could actually help herpes patients!


Professor Francisco Parra of the Universidad de Oviedo and Dr. Solomon Habtemariam of the University of Greenwich have kept busy, working on a flowering plant known as tansy. It is their mission to discover the plant’s medicinal efficacy in treating differentproblems, trying to figure out what all health benefits could be achieved from making use of this tansy. As we know, herpes requires its patients to take antivirals to help manage the outbreaks. Dr. Solomon and Professor Francisco have found that tansy actually happens to be a strong antiviral. They unearthed that tansy has compounds such as axillarin and 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid that have antiherpetic outcomes.

Tansy has been used for eons to treat conditions such as rheumatism, along with nurse fever-ridden people. It is also renowned for killing internal parasites, along with treating digestive issues, nervousness, ear ringing, respiratory conditions, hypertension, mental petulance, fatigue, stomach aches and much more. According to a 2006 report, tansy also makes a brilliant diuretic too. In short, this plant has been effective to a great extent, now having a new addition to its list of medicinal uses.

However, consuming tansy oil can cause turbulence in your overall digestive tract and also in your liver, which is why consulting a physician before making use of any tansy products is recommended.

Herpes: The Silent Assailant

If you are about to have sexual intercourse with a person, there is at least a 10% chance of you contracting herpes from them. Quite a high possibility, is it not? We thought so too!

This percentage mentioned was discovered from a study where swabs were taken from the genitals of about 500 individuals infected with the herpes simplex virus. What is shocking is that over 15% of this population assumed that they were clean, until they went through this blood test for herpes.

Not known to many people, at least 16% of the American population has the herpes simplex type 2 virus. Sadly, from 75-90% of this group of people do not even know that they have the virus, merely since they did not see symptoms or just because they did not think much of it. These unsuspecting carriers were found to have been shedding virus on at least 3 days out of the whole month, without even having an inkling about it.

A researcher from the University of Washington called Anna Wald mentioned that the biggest concern about these unwary carriers was that they make sexual intercourse with other individuals risky. Anna and her colleagues unearthed a few facts from their study:

  • Even if they have genital skin that has no sores and blisters, infected men could still shed the virus.
  • Individuals with herpes that do not show symptoms shed the virus as much as those who show symptoms.
  • Women shed virus as often as men.
  • Although there is no proof that this is absolutely correct, it seems as if white people shed virus more often that non-white people
  • Individuals with herpes that do not show symptoms shed virus only about half as often as those who show signs and symptoms.
  • It is almost impossible to calculate how much of the herpes virus is required to bring about an outbreak.
  • If a person has both herpes simplex virus 1 and 2, having virus 1 does not determine how often the person will shed type 2 virus.
  • The key is to keep check of the number of times the patient sheds the herpes virus in 12 months. If it is less than 8 times, they are shedding virus 19% of the entire year. If it is more than 8 times, these individuals are shedding virus 31% of the entire year.

Since herpes is a disease that is quite tough to detect in some people’s situation, it is best to go in for a check-up and get a herpes blood test done. And if you have not got around to do that, but have been feeling as if you may be infected, you could opt for one of the following options to stay safe:

  • Daily intake of valacyclovir, which is a drug for herpes.
  • Having a discussion about having herpes with your partner(s).
  • Making sure to use condoms whenever you get involved in some sexual act.

Can Herpes Lead To Cervical Cancer?

Quite some time ago, it was discovered that the herpes simplex virus type 2 plays a big role in cervical cancer. It seems the virus assists the human papillomavirus (HPV) to promote this type of cancer that is the reason behind thousands of women’s death each annual year.

According to a study done on a group of women with cervical cancer, around half of them had been struck by the herpes simplex virus 2 too, which led to the conclusion that has been mentioned above. However, this does not mean that all genital herpes patients that are women are prone to getting cervical cancer. The study’s main focus was to promote the regular visits to the nearest clinic or laboratory to get a Pap smear done. For those who do not know, the Pap smear tells the doctor and the patient if the papillomavirus is present in the patient’s body.

Herpes and CancerExperts say that at least 24 million Americans are attacked by the human papillomavirus, which happens to have at least 100 different strains. While there a few of these that only cause genital warts, others are transmitted via sexual contact with no protection used. The second type could be harmless though, which comes as a relief. Unfortunately, there are 14 types of human papillomavirus that lead to an aggressive case of cervical cancer. As a matter of fact, about 90% of all cervical cancer and other genital cancer cases are due to these 14 human papillomavirus.

A researcher known as Jennifer Smith has mentioned that female individuals that have been infected by both human papillomavirus and herpes simplex virus 2 are twice or thrice more likely to also get cervical cancer. Although this may seem scary and far-fetched, the study was carried out using the results from over 2000 women across continents like Europe, Asia and Latin America. Jennifer’s study even saw that Asian women had the highest rate of cervical cancer. Apparently, this study was done mostly in regions where Pap smears are not too easy to get done.

Since 1955, the death rate of cervical cancer has gone down by an astounding 74%, only due to the regular use of Pap smears. Therefore, today, cervical cancer has about a 100% cure rate, if a Pap smear is taken at the early stages of the cancer. Doctors advise women to come in for at least 2 or 3 Pap smear tests each year. While this is a great piece of information that gives hope to cervical cancer patients, it must be kept in mind that herpes has no permanent cure. Spread via unprotected sexual contact, herpes has now become a very common ailment in the United States of America. When triggered, the outbreaks, blisters and sores are painful and problematic.

The conclusion is that the presence of the genital herpes virus in the body is just one of the factors that promote cervical cancer. There are many other factors, such as early pregnancy and childbirth, high number of childbirths and smoking.

Studies May Lead To a Herpes Vaccine In The Future

VaccineRecent studies may have seen a form of immune cell that can be found in the skin that prevents painful outbreak blisters and sores. The experts are almost certain that this is the key behind finding the much-awaited herpes vaccine. This comes as no surprise, since at least 24 million people in the United States of America are troubled by genital herpes.

For the study, skin samples were taken from people who had contracted the herpes simplex virus 2. Under a microscope of high power, the experts made use of fluorescent stains to differentiate the various immune cells of the skin. According to them, the most intriguing immune cells were the CD8 killer T-cells, which provide a secondary defence. Apparently, the T-cells destroyed cells that were infected by virus, as soon as the infection took place. Needless to say, these prevented the copies of the virus.

At some point, experts were certain that these CD8 T-cells were found at different locations of the body. However, they now know that these stay in place, always watchful and alert. To understand these cells better, the researchers picked out 5 of them, aiming to tear them apart and find the protein they were forming. The discovery was a type of protein that pierced membranes to destroy cells, known as perforin. It even had the ability to make other proteins to beckon backup cells to pack a punch during the attack. Perforin was not made when there was no active virus in the skin.

Dr. Lawrence Corey of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center exclaimed that they have shown a set of special group of cells. Not only does the CD8 killer T-cells happen to have a memory, they also stay in the skin for long time spans. Dr. Lawrence also mentioned that these cells actually keep the herpes virus in check! He insists that experts study them, figure out what helps them live longer and work better. Also, he wants to figure out how to make them increase in numbers. According to him, all these will help the scientists prepare the perfect, effective vaccine for herpes.

As most of us know, there is no permanent cure for herpes, which is why a vaccine will be a miracle. Aside from abstaining from having any form of sexual contact, there is no certain way to prevent a person from contracting herpes. Moreover, condoms help, but only to a certain extent. Since the entire groin region is not covered, there remains a risk of spreading the herpes infection to others during sexual intercourse. Therefore, if the CD8 killer T-cells is the answer to herpes, then experts must study them and find that vaccine before the number of herpes patients increase any further.