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Genital herpes is one of the most common viral infections known to humankind. Epidemiologists estimate that approximately one in five adults in North America and Europe has been exposed to it, but only one in twenty-five ever receives effective treatment.

Genital herpes - most common viral infections

The reason genital herpes is under-diagnosed is that the symptoms of herpes infection can be relatively mild. There may be burning, itching, and flu-like symptoms after first contracting the virus, but then there are never any lesions. Or it is possible to contract the virus and have no symptoms until years later. This usually happens when cancer treatment or some other chronic disease has weakened the immune system so that the infection becomes aggressive.

People who have genital herpes may be told they have a yeast infection, bladder infection, or even fleabites. Eighty percent of the time the symptoms of genital herpes are so mild that the infected individual never seeks effective treatment. Unfortunately, people who do not suffer symptoms may still spread the disease. Women are more likely to be unaware they have the disease than men.

Barrier contraception, including both men's condoms and women's condoms, is the only way to be sure of preventing the spread of herpes during sexual contact. Latex prevents the transmission of the virus, but lambskin does not. People who have visible outbreaks on the skin should not have sex at all.

Preventing the spread of herpes is a loving act

Herpes infection can cause serious complications. Serious complications may be associated with herpes infection. Along with human papillomavirus (HPV), herpesvirus has been implicated as a cause of cervical cancer. The presence of herpesvirus in the expectant mother's birth canal is a great danger to the infant. Unless the baby is delivered by Caesarean section, there is a risk of meningitis, blindness, chronic herpes infection, and even death to the newborn. 

There are several natural therapies that make herpes outbreaks more bearable. One of the most important is diet. People who have genital herpes need to:

  • Avoid foods that are high in the amino acid arginine and
  • Eat foods that are high in the amino acid lysine.

Scientists have long believed that arginine acts as a "trigger" telling the herpesvirus to replicate itself. Lysine, on the other hand, is so chemically similar to arginine that it can keep the virus from absorbing arginine. This action prevents the virus from multiplying.

Continue reading after recommendations

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  • Tomblin FA Jr, Lucas KH. Lysine for management of herpes labialis. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2001 Feb 15.58(4):298-300, 304.
  • Vynograd N, Vynograd I, Sosnowski Z.A comparative multi-centre study of the efficacy of propolis, acyclovir and placebo in the treatment of genital herpes (HSV). Phytomedicine. 2000 Mar.7(1):1-6.