Skip to content

    Genital Herpes Health Center

    Select An Article

    Genital Herpes and HIV

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Having genital herpes can increase the risk of being infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and it can cause serious problems for people living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).

    People who have genital herpes sores are more likely to be infected with HIV during intercourse. When you develop a sore, the immune system tries to heal it, so there are many immune cells concentrated in that spot. Those are the cells that HIV infects. If HIV in semen, vaginal fluid, or blood comes in contact with a herpes sore, the risk for infection is high.

    Recommended Related to Genital Herpes

    Understanding Genital Herpes -- Treatment

    There's no cure for genital herpes, but antiviral treatment can help. Your doctor might prescribe: Zovirax Famvir Valtrex All of these antivirals can be used to shorten or prevent outbreaks. Daily suppressive therapy can reduce the number of outbreaks and potential spread to partners when ulcers are not apparent (called asymptomatic shedding). The newer drugs, Famvir and Valtrex, can be taken less frequently and may be better absorbed and better tolerated...

    Read the Understanding Genital Herpes -- Treatment article > >

    The Compound Effect of Genital Herpes and HIV

    HIV and the genital herpes virus are a troublesome duo. One can worsen the effects of the other. Research shows that when the herpes virus is active, it may cause HIV to make more copies of itself (the process called replication) than it would otherwise. The more HIV replicates, the more of the body's infection-fighting cells it destroys, eventually leading to AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).

    People infected with both HIV and the herpes virus may have longer-lasting, more frequent, and more severe outbreaks of herpes symptoms, because a weakened immune system can't keep the herpes virus under control as well as a healthy immune system can.

    Genital Herpes and HIV Treatment Issues

    It's more difficult to treat genital herpes if you also have HIV. Higher doses of antiviral drugs are often needed to treat herpes in people with HIV. Also, many people with HIV have strains of the herpes virus that are resistant to treatment with the standard antiviral drugs.

    If you take antiviral drugs for genital herpes and the treatment isn't working, your doctor can test the virus you have for resistance. If the virus is resistant, there are other possible treatment alternatives, including the drugs Foscarnet and Vistide. These drugs can be given through an IV, or a Vistide gel can be applied to the herpes sores.

    If you have HIV, ask your doctor if you should be tested for genital herpes. If you already know that you have herpes and HIV, discuss treatment options with your doctor.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on September 30, 2014
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    STD Overview
    Slideshow
    BHC Healthy Sex Life
    Quiz
     
    things your guy wish you knew slideshow
    Slideshow
    Sex Drive Killers 03
    Slideshow
     
    Genital Herpes Risks Quiz
    Quiz
    Young couple holding hands
    Quiz
     
    Hepatitis Prevent 10
    Feature
    Herpes Vaccine Study
    Video
     
    Daughter Development Evaluator
    Article
    HPV Vaccine Future
    Article
     
    STD Facts Quiz
    Quiz
    mother and daughter talking
    Tool
     

    WebMD Special Sections