Anonymous on November 10, 2011

What are the cures for herpes?

I think I have herpes and I want to get rid of these bumps. What are the cures for herpes?

answered by Lisa Oldson, MD on November 10, 2011

Thanks for sharing your concerns. I’ll try to help you understand more about herpes treatment and symptoms...but because you have current symptoms, I encourage you to visit your doctor for an exam and medication, if needed.

In terms of a cure for herpes, unfortunately we don’t have one yet. Luckily, we do have very good treatments for herpes, to manage the infection.

Specifically, antiviral therapy for herpes can control and treat a herpes infection effectively. These types of oral medications ⎼ typically acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir) and valacyclovir (Valtrex) ⎼ can help reduce the severity, length and frequency of outbreaks. Also, symptoms of herpes tend to become milder over time.

Talk to a doctor about what type of herpes treatment is right for you. You may find that episodic or suppressive treatments fit your symptoms and lifestyle best.

  • Episodic herpes treatment means the treatment is given only during herpes outbreaks. The goal of episodic treatment is to help the herpes sores go away as soon as possible and reduce the length of time and intensity of the outbreak.
  • Suppressive herpes treatment is used for people who have frequent outbreaks and for outbreaks that tend to be severe. This is an oral treatment that’s taken every day ⎼ even when symptoms aren’t present ⎼ to suppress the herpes virus and prevent outbreaks. Suppressive herpes treatments are also helpful (along with condoms) in reducing the risk of passing the virus to a sexual partner.

One more thing…red bumps in the genital region don’t necessarily mean you have herpes. To know for sure, you’ll need to get tested and visit your doctor for an exam. If you currently have genital sores, you can visit your doctor for a swab test. If you don’t currently have symptoms, getting tested with a Herpes Simplex Virus Type-Specific HSV-1/2 IgG blood test can help you and your doctor determine if you have herpes and what the proper treatment should be.

Thanks for your question and I wish you a quick resolution to your symptoms. If you have more questions about herpes treatment, please visit our Expert Guide to Herpes 1 + 2.

Lisa Oldson, MD

Dr. Oldson is Medical Director of the Analyte Physicians Group. She is on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Clinical Instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Her areas of expertise include STDs (with a particular clinical emphasis on herpes), women's health, preventive medicine, diabetes, obesity and weight management, and mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Oldson was educated at Rush Medical College and completed her residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

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