Newborns and the Spread of Herpes

Herpes is well known to be the epidemic that is affecting all of the sexually active population around the world. There are two common types of herpes. The herpes simplex virus one causes cold sores, fever blisters and so on, and are more likely to be seen in younger children; however, HSV 1 is also proven to be one of the causes of genital herpes. Herpes simplex virus 2 causes genital herpes and is commonly known to be a popular sexually transmitted disease.

How does any of this link to new born babies? Mothers who are already affected by herpes may affect their infant with herpes during birth. This is a topic of concern, as severe cases of herpes in new born infants can lead to death. Studies have been conducted to find a method that would prove to be the safest way to deliver a baby without spreading the infection to the child.


Records in several hospitals in Washington State from 1989 to 1999 show that caesarean deliveries reduce the chances of the infants contracting herpes during delivery. The investigation showed 85 caesarean deliveries of mothers who were infected by genital herpes, and 117 vaginal deliveries. One infant was found with herpes in the case of caesarean delivery and 9 cases were found for vaginal delivery.

Researchers also conclude that women who have ulcers on their skin during the time of delivery are also less likely to infect their babies with herpes, as they have a higher chance of having a caesarean delivery. The study conducted earlier had 78 women who had ulcers on their genitalia, and none of these women had transferred herpes to their babies.

Other factors were also involved in increasing the chances of the baby getting herpes. Cervical herpes is more easily transferred to the baby than the normal herpes on the skin. Premature delivery is also a cause of concern if the mother has herpes. The study also revealed that if the mother was 21 or younger, the baby was more likely to be infected by herpes during delivery.

Many women may not be aware that they carry the herpes virus and may be actively shedding without showing any symptoms. This can be dangerous for any new baby. Mothers should always be cautious, and take the proper measures to check if they do have herpes or not, and if they do, then take the necessary steps to have a healthy baby.

Herpes Is Catchy Even After Treatment

Absolute curbing of the herpes virus is old news. Recent figures show that even after taking high does medicine to stop symptoms of genital herpes, you are still capable of spreading the herpes virus to your sexual partners.

Taking strong enough medicine can allow all of your herpes symptoms to disappear. However, that does not mean that you can consider yourself being the same as someone who does not have herpes at all. Studies show that even the strongest of medicine does not completely stop the shedding of the herpes virus.

Researcher Christine Johnston says that even when the patient is taking extremely high doses of anti-herpes drugs, they are still likely to undergo short periods of “shedding”, where herpes virus is released from the body.

One out of five people in Europe and America carry the herpes simplex virus 1 and herpes simplex virus 2
, although not everyone may show the symptoms of it. Symptoms include the spreading of painful sores on the skin of the genital area or the rectum. There are no absolute cure for the herpes infection, there are only medicines to curb the symptoms, such as valacyclovir and acyclovir. Since there are no medicine to properly get rid of the virus, that means no one can be completely cured if they are once affected by HSV 1 or HSV 2.

Herpes Symptoms Treatment

There has been clinical trials recently, only to show that treatment of the herpes symptoms cannot completely reduce the risk of spreading the herpes virus to your sexual partner. The clinical trials had people affected by the herpes virus on a strong medication. On the first go, volunteers are asked to have a regular 400 mg pill of acyclovir two times a day. The volunteers were tested for HSV 2 in their genital and rectal regions four times a day by swabbing them for eight to fourteen weeks. The results showed that the person was 95% less likely to show positive for HSV 2, however, they were tested positive 3% of the time.

In the next studies, the volunteers that were taken often suffered from severe outbreaks, and thus they were given a higher dose of medication, 800 mg acyclovir three times a day or other medication in different doses to give a similar result. The results showed that the volunteers tested positive 7% of the time, proving that even strong medication does not stop periodical herpes shedding.

The results prove that the herpes virus is not exactly dormant during its inactive periods, and is willing to find a way out of the body to latch onto another body. Thus extra precaution is required by the infected person at all times.

The good news is that treatment radically decreases the chances of your partner contracting herpes from you, however, the bad news is that the chances are never zero. Researchers encourage patients to use condoms and safe sex practices as these will lessen the changes of spreading herpes any further.

Women, Herpes and Oral Sex

Studies show that now people can be infected by both herpes simplex virus 1 and herpes simplex virus 2 in the genital region. Women are some prone to getting infected. Furthermore, oral and vaginal sex can lead a woman to being infected by HSV 1.

Studies show that a woman is 9 times more likely to be infected by HSV 1 via oral sex than someone who have no sex at all. Vaginal sex makes a woman six times more like to get infected by HSV 1.

The worrying matter is that even if a person is infected by HSV 2, it does not mean the person cannot be affected by HSV 1 or be protected from it.

Women and Herpes

Studies also show that women are more likely to get herpes than man. Some studies argue that this is due to the fact that women tend to have more delicate skin, which can lead to a higher chance of microscopic lacerations. These lacerations can easily welcome all kinds of microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, etc. hence the genital herpes virus is welcomed into the body without the person even being aware of the matter.

HSV 1 is more commonly known for causes cold sores or fever blisters in younger children. However, due to stricter disciple and a higher maintenance of hygiene, children are becoming less and less likely to suffer from cold sores or fever blisters. This makes them vulnerable to acquiring genital herpes later on in life from HSV 1, which is now proven to also affect the genital area.

Researchers are now looking for a vaccine that will protect against both herpes simplex virus 1 and herpes simplex virus 2. The genital herpes is increasingly becoming an epidemic, and researchers worry about finding a solution to this as soon as they possible can, and also find a way to create a vaccine to protect the future generations from this sorry fate of herpes.

Genital Herpes Rates Not Going Down

Studies are being carried out, preventions for STDs are being known everywhere. Yet, the numbers for genital herpes and those affected by the infection is not going any lower. Numbers are crunching higher and now statistics say that one in every six American individual that are from the age category 14-49 years have herpes. If that does not sound serious enough, studies show that almost half of the African American females are affected by constantly spreading herpes simplex virus 2, or more commonly known as the genital herpes.

Twenty-four million people are affected by genital herpes in the United States of America today. This means the nation’s health care has to spend well over 16 billion dollars on just treating genital herpes alone. Even then, not everyone with herpes is getting the proper treatment or medication for their infection.

According to recent studies, women are twice more likely to be infected than men. This is due to the fact that the skin around the female genital area is more delicate and prone to lacerations. These cuts create passageways for viruses to enter the body, thus making it easier for the female to contract herpes. This also explains why African American women have such a high chance of having HSV 2 in them. In the black community, the background rate of infected people are already quite high, thus making African American females more susceptible to having the genital herpes infection.

Studies also show that people who have just one sex partner had a 4% chance of contracting herpes, whereas someone who had over ten partners had a 27% chance of contracting herpes. This is largely due to the fact that many people are not aware if they have herpes or not. Not all herpes virus carriers show symptoms of the infection, which makes it hard to tell who has herpes and who does not. Thus if a person has more sex partners, they would have a higher chance of getting the genital herpes virus, if they did not have it already.

This Leads to the Next Shocking Fact

Approximately four people out of five are not even aware that they have herpes, as they have not checked out done a blood test, hence they were never diagnosed with the disease. Many do not show symptoms, and lots of people ignore the sores, thinking they might be something minor. This is a big problem. If a person remains untreated and does not take medication for herpes, they have a higher chance of spreading herpes to their sexual partners. If they have more than one sexual partner, they have a chance of spreading it to many people.

To make matters worse, research has revealed that HVS 2 and HIV can be linked together. A person who has genital herpes is three times as likely to catch HIV in them as someone who does not have herpes. They are also more likely to spread the disease to other people as well. Even after the sores of the genital herpes have healed, there is still an increased chance of getting HIV into their body if they come in contact with the virus. Furthermore, someone who has both genital herpes and HIV is likely to spread the HIV virus during the herpes flare-ups, along with the genital herpes virus itself.

What is needed here is the state services to step up and create social awareness. People need to understand the severity of the situation, and understand that unless careful measures and steps are undertaken, there could be a herpes and HIV epidemic. The sad part of the story is that the necessary preventive measures and the testing to see if someone has herpes are neither elaborate, nor expensive. The public needs to be aware of why these steps are important. It is disappointing that public organizations fight it difficult to fund the necessary campaigns to highlight the importance of keeping herpes at bay.

Fortunately, there are campaigns to educate the masses on the importance of safe sex and symptoms of herpes. The public health organizations encourage people with high risk for having herpes to get tested to see if they have contracted herpes or not. This category includes people with multiple sexual partners, bisexual and gay men as well as people who are already infected by HIV.

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.

Why Condoms are Important for Herpes

Genital herpes, also known as HSV 2, is a virus that causes infection and painful ulcers on a person’s genitalia. Genital herpes has no cure, so if someone once contracts genital herpes, it will stick around with them for life. Herpes causes painful sores on the skin around the genitals and rectum of a person, and is a sexually transmitted disease.

Condom is Important for HerpesSo how are herpes and condoms related? Well, the answer is obvious, of course. Condoms create a big difference in the chances of a person contracting a sexually transmitted disease from a sexual partner. Research shows that continuous use of condoms can cut down the chances of someone getting genital herpes by 30%. Condoms also help reduce the chances of contracting other sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV at a substantial rate.

Research is still being conducted at to how affective using condoms is when it comes to genital herpes. While it is true that condoms can make an enormous difference in contracting most sexually transmitted diseases, researchers are not so keen as to coming to the same conclusion when it comes to genital herpes. However, 30% is still a good difference which can affect an individual or even the greater society.

The use of condoms provides equal protection for both men and women, as far as the research can conclude. Of course, having one sexual partner also reduces the possibility of contracting herpes to a significant amount as well. Studies also show that the percentage of risk or chances of contracting genital herpes increase with the number of unprotected sexual acts an individual chooses to do.

The difference in using and not using condoms, however, is still quite large, so researchers still encourage that condoms be used continuously to keep people sage, and have a lower chance of getting genital herpes.

All About Herpes Shedding

Herpes is not necessarily about having painful sores and a miserable life. Many carriers of the herpes virus are not even aware that they have the herpes virus in them. This is due to the fact that not everyone shows symptoms of herpes infection, which is famously known for the painful sores it causes.

It is actually quite simple to find out if you carry HSV 2, or genital herpes virus. This is done by a simple blood test, where the test will find out of you have HSV 2, or herpes simplex virus 2 in your blood stream.

Herpes shedding, however, is a different matter altogether. Herpes “shedding” is referred to the spreading of the herpes virus through the genital and rectal area. Everyone who carries the virus in their blood stream will shed the virus up to a certain extent of time, even if they show no symptoms of having the virus. The problem with this is that you may be giving the virus to your sexual partner without even realizing it. Hence, it is always good to make sure where you can, so you can take the preventive measures and medication.

Herpes Transmission

A study had been carried out to see how often people “shed” the herpes virus in order to get an idea of what affects the increase or decrease of the shedding. Many people who volunteered for the study didn’t even know they had herpes until they were tested for it, so people with a variety of symptoms were a part of the study.

The study was conducted to about five hundred people starting from severe to no symptoms at all. They were swabbed daily to check for the HSV 2 infection. It was found out that even those who did not have any symptoms of herpes shed the virus at least ten percent of the time.

Some of the results show that both men and women shed the virus just as often, and men can shed the virus even through normal looking skin. Furthermore, someone who has HSV 1, or suffers from cold sores, shed the HSV 2 at the same rate as someone who did not have cold sores. More importantly, people who had seven or less outbreaks shed the herpes virus about 19% of the time, whereas people who had outbreaks eight times or more had a higher chance of about 31% of spreading the herpes virus.

There are still no known cure to totally stop the herpes infection in a person, and this is what makes herpes so frightening. However, there are methods through which you can cut out your chances of spreading herpes to your partner by half. Doctors recommend the use of condoms, as this will decrease the chances of spreading the virus. Certain drugs, such as valacyclovir, decrease the chances of herpes shedding as well. Last but not least, remember to tell your partner that you do have herpes, so preventive measures can be taken from both sides.

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.

Spreading Herpes Unintentionally

New research has been pointing fingers at the female population. It seems that the research suggests that female youngsters may be the ones promoting the spread of the herpes virus. Kenneth Fife of Indiana University School of Medicine states that there is a chunk of the female population that has never been tested for herpes, has not shown a single sign of having herpes, but is still shedding the virus every now and then.

Kenneth Fife

Kenneth Fife

Supposedly, at least one out of five youngsters and adults has herpes. Often, it is genital herpes that is caused by herpes simplex virus 2. Kenneth and his team members studied exactly 127 women, all of whom were 14 to 18 years old. After 4-6 years of observation, it was found that only 3 women had been diagnosed with type 2 herpes. The rest of the women never went in for a test, and yet, about two thirds of the 127 were shedding the virus. Even more surprisingly, a group of these women who had been tested negative at first, were tested positive the second time round.

Kenneth expressed his worry, since most of these women never showed signs of genital herpes. Even though some women may have had the likes of vaginal discharges, they were not out of the ordinary; other factors could cause such discharges to take place.

There was another study carried out where patients who have had genital herpes for over a decade, still showing virus shedding for 14% of the year.

The studies shed light on the fact that hormonal contraception such as the pill could lower the defences of a woman’s body, making her susceptible to genital herpes. A group of researchers from Albert Einstein School of Medicine studied some women aged from 18 to 25. They were all generally healthy, showing antimicrobial properties in their vaginal fluid. However, some women who were on contraception showed lesser antimicrobial properties in comparison. The researchers did say however, that this study was small, which is why a larger research needs to be carried out to confirm their findings.

Herpes Awareness: How Condoms Come To Rescue

Although you may not know it, herpes could be a grave matter. Even though it is not fatal, the patients have to bear the consequences till their last breath. And honestly speaking, all that extra mental and physical stress gets too much to handle at some point or another. So, what could be done? If you have contracted the disease already, it truly is unfortunate and you will need to keep vigil at all times; you do not want to spread the infection to others or cause yourself to experience more pain than you already are in. However, if you have NOT contracted the illness, stay alert and always keep yourself protected.

Use CondomSince herpes is a sexually transmitted disease, you will need to be protected during sexual intercourse at all times, especially if your partner has genital herpes. Probably the best way to keep yourself safeguarded is by making use of condoms during sexual intercourse. Although, new study discoveries show that condoms merely reduce the risk of acquiring genital herpes from others, but does not completely eliminate the chances. How is that possible, you ask? Researchers carried out polls and have found that individuals who use condoms steadily have about 30% reduced risk than those who do not use them. This is disappointing when we consider how condoms work better in terms of preventing the contraction of the HIV virus. This 30% is only because herpes is from skin contact, which means even the area that is not covered by the condom could help spread the infection.

Emily Martin of the University of Washington and Children’s Hospital Research Institute has explained that even though the 30% may seem less, it could have a huge positive impact on the human population, if they only swear to make use of condoms.

There was a study conducted on 5000 people who made use of condoms, whether consistently or every now and then. In this experiment, it was found that there was no big difference in the degree of protection, between men and women. The researchers also discovered that even people who did not religiously use condoms got an increased level of security from using condoms, as long as they made sure to wear one for all sexual acts.

To conclude this matter, experts highly recommend the use of condoms, regardless of the type of sexual act they are participating in. In this way, you get added protection from genital herpes, which in turn guards all those who you are sexually active with. It is a good cycle that must be kept going.

Continue to read about Top 10 Questions About Herpes Answered.