Supressing herpes doesn't lessen HIV susceptibility

One of those cases of a great theory gone sour. Stats indicate that those with herpes simplex II (genital herpes) run a doubly higher risk of acquiring HIV (the AIDS virus). Scientists ran a study in both Peru and Africa wherein they used acyclovir to suppress the occurrences of HSV-2 in sexually active adults in the hope of finding a concurrent reduction in the number of those who developed HIV. Sadly, although acyclovir did reduce occurrence of genital disease outbreaks, it had no relationship whatever to who did or didn’t get HIV.

Researchers had hoped they’d found an important key to HIV-prevention and were very disappointed. But perhaps the most surprising statement came from Connie Celium, MD when she reported on the study at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections:

“…one in four people in the U.S. has genital herpes and 99% don’t know it. Had the acyclovir worked, she said, ‘we had hoped this would be something we could apply today to drive down the susceptibility to HIV infection.'”

If 99% of people with serious gential disease are unaware of it, the chances of stemming the spread are pretty thin.

So I checked for more stats. Found that number confirmed and this information on the occurrence in the US and internationally of several types of herpes–all of which can be transmitted without any symptoms present. “More than one-third of the world’s population has recurrent clinical HSV infections.” That’s a lot of people potentially transmitting an STD. And there’s a lot of ignorance about an incurable disease.