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Oral Cancer and Herpes
Aug 22, 2010

I recently finished an experimental vaccine study with modified dendritic cells. I had to stop all my anti-virals for 6 months. My T-cell count was 720 when I started the study, my viral load was undetectable, and my percentage was 32%. At the end of the study my T-cell count was 300, my viral load was 104,000, and my percentage was 23%. I went back on my medication and a week later I had what is thought to be a herpetic outbreak. I tested positive for herpes many years ago but have never had an outbreak. I also developed leukoplakia and have red spots on the roof of my mouth that seem to come and go. I have had the herpetic outbreak now for 2 months and the leukoplakia for that amount of time as well. I have had 2 rounds of Valacyclovir with no change. The leukoplakia seems to get better but does not fully go away but whatever this is on my penis does not change. I am very frightened that I have oral cancer and have made an appointment with a dentist that my doctor recommended. The only problem is it is a month out before they can get me in. Can you tell me how long a herpetic outbreak can last and what options I have if it does not respond to Valacyclovir? Also can you tell me if Oral cancer can be fatal? Thank you.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

You don't indicate how the diagnosis of a "herpetic outbreak" was made. Was this just by clinical exam or was a smear or culture performed from one of the lesions? If the diagnosis was confirmed by laboratory testing, and the lesions still persist, it is possible that the virus is resistant to valacyclovir. If the lesions are truly leukoplakia, then that is likely caused by a different herpes virus, in essentially all cases is benign. However, it is good to have an expert check this out, and if necessary, take a biopsy to see what may be going on.



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