Herpes, a STD (Socially Transmitted Disease) which catches people unaware is a silent viral disease. One in five Americans has genital herpes but only 20% of those affected are aware of it. 1 Herpes viruses are a leading cause of human viral disease, second only to influenza and cold viruses. There is yet a cure to be found for this disease although treatment is available to reduce the symptoms of this disease and decrease the risk of transmission.
1. Herpes was a known disease from ancient Greek times. Named herpein meaning ‘to creep’ with reference to the creeping expanding cutaneous skin. There is also mention of Hippocrates discussing symptoms of herpes.
2. There are 3 stages in the development of herpes. The first is the primary stage when blisters which progress into sores, appear 2-8 days after infection. The second is the latent stage when the virus moves to the nerves and lie low. The third stage known as shedding is when the virus multiplies and presents itself in body fluids. This is when transmission to another person occurs.3
3. Herpes virus transmits through broken skin such as tears and cuts. The virus cannot enter through skin that is unbroken. One way of transmission is by touching the fluid from a herpes infection and then touching a tear on one’s own skin.
4. There are two types of herpes: Herpes Simplex 1 (HSV-1) which occurs on the mouth or lips and Herpes Simplex 2 (HSV-2) which occurs on the genitals.
5. There are alternate medicines for the treatment of herpes. This includes the Indian research which has named 2 plants, H. mysorense and H. hookerianum, as being able to suppress herpes (HSV-1) infection. 4
6. Other forms of alternate medicine include Herpes nosodes, Monolaurin, Olive Leave, Andrographis and Lysine.8.
7. Research has indicated a causal relationship between HSV-1 and a cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s disease.9 It has been found that during the third stage of the infection, the herpes virus leaves the host cells of the mucous membrane and enters sensory nerve cells where they are transmitted to the brain.
8. Herpes Whitlow(lesions) occurs when the herpes virus spreads to a torn skin in the fingers either from contact within one’s own body or a person having herpes . Those commonly afflicted were health workers before glove-wearing became compulsory and children. About 60% of cases are caused by HSV-1 whereas 40% by HSV-2.
9. Chickenpox and shingles are caused by variations of the herpes virus called herpes zoster virus or human herpes virus-3.
10. Skin lesions as a result of HSV-2 are a vulnerable risk for more dangerous diseases such as HIV which causes AIDS and syphilis.