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Things You Most Likely Didn’t Know About Genital Herpes And HIV

4 Mins read
  • HIV acquisition odds are at least three times higher with Genital Herpes.
  • In 2016, 420 000 HIV events had a connection with Genital Herpes infection.
  • We can’t rule out the plausibility of multiple drug resistance.

Scientific evidence from the different health journals proffers a crucial link between Genital Herpes and HIV procurement. 

In 2017, investigators deeply evaluated nearly 55 proposed Health Journals to ascertain the HSV and HIV association. This assessment unveiled HIV acquisition at least three times higher with Genital Herpes infection. 

Another evaluation hinted that almost 1.4 million new HIV cases arose in 2016 among individuals 15 to 49. 

Of those, 420 000 HIV events had a connection with Genital Herpes infection. 

Scientists are yet to classify why Herpes infection facilitates HIV acquisition. But, there may be certain factors that may play a role in that. We will talk about those details later. Meanwhile, let us educate you about both Viruses. 

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

The title “HIV” interprets a Virus that causes the extreme downfall of CD4 cells (also called T-cells) if left untreated. This downfall of the T-cells drastically impairs the function of the immune system.

HIV, in its advanced phase, forms Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). This advanced stage of HIV leaves patients with many terminal diseases. 

AIDS is a fatal syndrome that empowers multiple opportunistic ailments to infect the Human body, especially Pneumonia, Tuberculosis, Cancer, and severe brain infection. 

Before the advancement of HIV into AIDS, life expectancy was near normal. Once HIV converts into AIDS and left untreated, the lifespan is nearly three years. 

The worldwide estimation of total HIV/AIDS patients is about 38 million in 2019.

These preliminaries settled, he did not care to put off any longer the execution of his design, urged on to it by the thought of all the world was losing by his delay, seeing what wrongs he intended to right, grievances to redress, injustices to repair, abuses to remove, and duties to discharge.

Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV2)

The Human Herpes Simplex Virus ignites two types of cutaneous infections in the human body. HSV 1 prompts Herpes labialis, while HSV 2 induces Herpes genitalis. Herpes infection is way more widespread as compared to HIV/AIDS. 

The number is significant as 3.7 billion people aged up to 50 have HSV 1 antibodies; whereas 491 million people seropositive to HSV2. 

Typically, the herpes virus does not cause terminal infection. There can be a rare instance where it can cause neonatal Herpes and herpes encephalitis that may cause demise. 

Why HSV Induces HIV Risk?

The conclusive evidence is yet a matter of scrutiny, but the health professionals hypothesize some aspects.  

Ph.D. Jia Zhu and M.D. Lawrence Corey attempted to detect why HSV2 facilitates HIV acquisition.

They found that the lesions that the Herpes Virus prompts create an ideal habitat for HIV. 

Explaining further, they asserted that our body develops a lasting immune response against the lesions and sores attributable to HSV. 

Breakage of the epithelial barrier occurs in response to primary and secondary HSV outbreak. The breakage then contributes to HIV acquisition. 

Multiple biological evidence also acknowledges the connection between primary HSV and HIV acquisition. 

It comes to the knowledge that Primary HSV infection significantly boosts HIV acquisition likelihood than recurrent HSV.  

Researchers in 2009 found that CD4+ cells substantially found at the site of the HSV lesion. CD4+ cells are the same cells that HIV infects. These cells contain two cell-surface receptors CCR5 and CXCR4, that HIV utilizes to invade CD4+ T Cells. 

Further revelation also explained that even HSV is treated with Valacyclovir; still, the risk of HIV acquisition is higher.

Compound Complications: Herpes And HIV Co-existence

Usually, there is a belief that Herpes is a latent infection with periodic occurrences. However, this general principle does not go well in a case where HIV coexists with Genital Herpes. 

Incessant Herpes recurrences and continual viral shedding make this infection so pesky. Right from scratch, HIV gradually destroys the innate immunity. 

For the given reason, many opportunistic ailments, including genital Herpes, start deteriorating your condition. 

The Herpes flare-ups you previously used to treat with antivirals efficiently may no longer be responsive to your stocked antivirals. 

We can’t rule out the plausibility of multiple drug resistance. 

Since antiviral drugs are no longer responsive, the disseminated HSV with a severe outbreak is constant.

Antivirals aren’t the way to treat Herpes Virus. IMG Credit: Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

There is a high chance you may leave with a higher dosage of suppressive therapy for the management of Genital Herpes that coexists with HIV. 

HIV patients are often given Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART therapy) for several reasons. They are given to

  • Reduce HIV viral load.
  • Slow down the disease progression.
  • Improve the quality of life.
  • Facilitate the immune response.
  • Prevent the drug-resistance.
  • Prevent HIV transmission.

Though physicians recommend HAART therapy for the above benefits, sometimes it induces Herpes recurrences. 

The Treatment Of HSV And HIV Coinfection

Genital Herpes and HIV coalition present significant therapeutic challenges before physicians. 

Single or multiple drug resistance is a general event in HIV and Herpes coexistence. The standard treatment regimen may not work anymore. 

To tackle the situation, you may need some unique treatment regimen with a high dosage of Antivirals and other supportive medications. 

Foscarnet is a drug therapy approved by the FDA to cope with the drug-resistant Herpes Infection. The drug is a dominant HSV inhibitor that is found useful in Acyclovir resistant HSV. It has been shown effective in delaying the recurrence of HSV. 

Cidofovir is another broad-spectrum antiviral broadly used to treat drug Herpes that has gained resistance to drugs. Stopping the HSV growth and delaying the HSV recurrence is the primary function of Cidofovir. 


Are Herpes and HIV the same thing?

Many people think that Herpes is HIV. Though they are completely different viruses, however, Herpes can facilitate HIV acquisition.

How easy is it to get Herpes?

The herpes virus is tremendously contagious, and that it can easily invade your body. It generally passes through sexual contacts, kissing, or coming into contact with contaminated saliva. It is considered one of the prevalent infections worldwide.

What are the chances of getting HIV if you have Herpes?

Studies have found that an individual with Genital Herpes is at least three times more vulnerable to HIV than people with negative HSV. Herpes lesion contains receptors that HIV uses to enter cells.

Does Herpes affect HIV testing?

No evidence supports that HSV can influence HIV testing according to retrospective longitudinal cohort analysis.

Is Herpes an early sign of HIV?

Herpes is an entirely distinct virus than HIV. Having Herpes does not mean you will assuredly get HIV. The Herpesvirus provokes entirely different signs compared to HIV/AIDS.

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