Herpes is one of the common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that any sexually active person can contract. Genital Herpes is caused by two closely related viruses, the Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). The Herpes is one of the STDs that is on the rise in the United States of America, and the data from CDC shows that America is the fastest Herpes growing country and keeps highest rising one. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one out of six people in the United States aged 14 to 49 have genital Herpes caused by the HSV-2.
Dr. Jonathan Mermin, the director of CDC’s national center for HIV/Aids, Viral Hepatitis, “STD rates are rising, and many of the country’s systems for preventing STDs have eroded.” He said said in a written statement (PDF), “We must mobilize, rebuild and expand services, or the human and economic burden will continue to grow.” However, it is sacrosanct that a level of success has been attained as regards curbing certain STDs. Lately, the cases of syphilis and gonorrhea have steadily dropped over the past couple of decades, this is not so when it comes to genital warts and Herpes. One may wonder why this is so, it is clear that syphilis, gonorrhea, and certain STDs that have their increasing rates reduced, are caused by bacteria, suffice it that they are a bacterial infection and can be addressed with antibiotics. Individuals with these STD’s, when placed on high antibiotics can be alleviated, unlike genital warts and Herpes which are viral diseases (caused by the virus). While there are possibilities of treating the symptoms of a viral disease, there is yet no cure for the illness itself, that is no treatment for the underlying virus.
Who is at most risk?
A rational human would think about who is more exposed to this Herpes. Genital warts and Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease and is bound to infect people within the actual sexual age. Sexually active youths without any sense of protection may be the most possible sufferers. Youths are at high risk of Herpes infection because, it is sacrosanct that youths mindlessly engage in various forms of sexual activities; negative attitude towards condom use, safe sex, and education has a lot to do with young adults becoming infected with sexually transmitted infections. It is appalling that many teenagers and young adults are not concerned about catching Herpes, and this makes them act open to sexual experiments, multiple sexual partners, unhygienic oral sex, and having casual and unprotected sex. These even expose them to higher risks of contracting other sexually transmitted disease because STDs are passed from one person through sexual contact. Your STD risk is all about what you do and not who you are, your attitude towards sexual activities discerns your STD risk.
Studies show that young women’s bodies are biologically more susceptible to STDs, little wonder women have the highest rate of Herpes. African-American women have the highest rate of Herpes infection at 48 percent and are nearly twice as likely as men to be infected.
Although complications are not rampant, the Herpes simplex virus (HSV) can cause diseases in other parts of the body when it invades it, other than the genital area. These complications are peculiar to the primary genital Herpes and can cause inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), infection of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and inflammation of the lower spinal cord. However, this Herpes can affect the lips (Herpes labialis), they are usually mild but may be treated with antiviral medicines if they become severe. It can also affect the eyes (Herpes keratitis), the hands and fingers (Herpetic whitlow). For people with impaired immune system, the Herpes virus can go as long as affecting their lungs, joints, and liver. In fact, the Herpes virus is a dreadful one, and everyone should strive to avoid it.
What is the hope for the future, with the fast rising cases of Herpes in America?
Studies and researches are seriously going on to find a possible cure to this Herpes virus, many health scientists are up to work, ensuring that they get down on this disease by proffering a possible solution.
Dr. J Sridhar, who is currently researching on the vaccine for Herpes said “Researches are going on in the US regarding the vaccines for HSV and HIV. If successful, it will be a milestone. Similarly, for HSV, we have found out a therapeutic vaccine which may control HSV.”
However, another promising vaccine to treat the Herpes simplex virus type2 (genital Herpes) is currently undergoing tests, the vaccine which is called GEN-003 is currently in phase II trials, where it is rather doing well. Zeena Nawas, MD, a research fellow at the center for clinical studies in Houston said, “GEN-003, is a promising vaccine if it gets approved it would be the just therapeutic vaccine for genital Herpes or any other infectious disease.” It is proposed that the vaccine will unquestionably prevent transmission of the infection since people are the most contagious during an outbreak or while shedding.
MPWH (Meet People with Herpes) community suggests that self-education and getting tested regularly are the most efficient ways to protect from Herpes. Perhaps, people will understand that Herpes patients also enjoy a healthy and love lives through proper enlightenment. MPWH tries to give hope to Herpes patients, as they let them meet fellow Herpes patients, making them feel and live a stigma- free, and nondiscriminatory life. Hopefully, there is light at the end of the tunnel with several types of research aiming at producing a sure cure for the Herpes virus.