Can herpes be cured?

There is no cure for herpes. Once a person has the virus, it remains in the body. The virus lies latent in the nerve cells until something triggers it to become active again. These herpes “outbreaks,” which can include the painful herpes sores, can be controlled with medication.

Can outbreaks be treated?

Talk to your doctor about certain antiviral medications including acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir. These drugs can reduce the length of time and severity of herpes illness if started within 72 hours of visual lesions. These medications can be taken during outbreaks only, or even daily for prevention depending on the number of outbreaks per year.

How often do outbreaks happen?

How often outbreaks occur depends on the person. On average, people with herpes experience about four outbreaks a year. The first outbreak usually is the most painful and takes the longest to heal. The pain and recovery time often decrease with each outbreak.

What triggers an outbreak?

It depends on the person. Some commonly reported triggers include:

  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Surgery
  • Vigorous sex
  • Diet
  • Monthly period

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