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HIV+ / Herpes -
Sep 21, 2006

I wanted to know if being on HIV antivirals had any effect on keeping a person from being infected with genital herpes? Also, is there such a thing as Herpes prophylaxis? I would appreciate any thoughts you have on this topic

Response from Dr. Daar

Thank you for your post.

I am not aware of any evidence that HIV medications will prevent being infected with genital herpes. However, those who are infected may find that they have less outbreaks once their immune system is strengthened with antiretrovirals.

For those infected who develop repeated bouts of genital herpes we do give medications to reduce the number of outbreaks. This can be referred to as prophylaxis against outbreaks of herpes. There is also data looking at whether similar anti-herpes drugs can be used to prevent infection in those uninfected. This is not yet the standard of care and is associated with risks that need to be explored but is an area of investigation.

For now, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid direct contact with those infected. It is important to note that even those without active lesions can still shed virus so the optimal way to prevent infection is to avoid direct contact with those infected regardless of whether they have active lesions (blisters) or not.

Best, Eric


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