Does a Vaccine Exist for Herpes?


There have been several attempts at developing a vaccine. As of yet, there is no vaccine available for HSV-1 or HSV-2.

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Disclaimer: This information isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should never rely upon this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

There are eight primary viruses in the herpes family, but when most people talk about herpes, they’re referring to either oral or genital herpes. These are caused by two types of the herpes virus, Herpes Simplex Virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2), and they are extremely widespread. Nearly half of Americans aged 14-49 have HSV-1 and about 12% of Americans aged 14-49 have HSV-2 (1).

Considering how common oral and genital herpes are, you might think it’s a given that a vaccine is available—sadly, you’d be wrong. While there have been several attempts at developing a vaccine, as of yet, there is no vaccine available for HSV-1 or HSV-2. This is not for lack of trying, though.

Attempts have been made to create a vaccine for the Herpes Simplex Virus, but they’ve been unsuccessful. Animal trials seemed promising, but human trials showed that creating a vaccine for this virus is much more complex than for some others. Although there was a vaccine trial that induced antibodies against herpes, it was not successful at preventing the herpes infection (2). Clearly, much more work needs to be done before a herpes vaccine will be ready for use (if ever).

While there is no vaccine or cure for HSV-1 and HSV-2, the good news is that there are treatments available to help mitigate symptoms, prevent outbreaks, and even reduce the risk of transmission. Your physician or a Roman-affiliated physician can assess your medication needs based on your medical history. Click here to learn more about treatment options available through Roman.


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