Herpes Support

Living with herpes isn’t always easy!  Sometimes, a little support is all that’s needed to get you back on the right track.


Trying to find herpes support isn’t always easy. You almost need to live in major city to have any chance of finding a support group specifically for people dealing with herpes. For this reason, many turn to the internet for support and this can have mixed results.

There are a lot of memories that can stick in a person’s mind.  Things like your first kiss, that winning touchdown, a big promotion…etc. One of those memories may also include the day the doctor confirmed your herpes diagnosis. Time probably stopped and your ride home seemed like an eternity. Once home, you were scared but the worst part is that you felt isolated and alone.

Like most, you can’t exactly pick up the phone and tell your friends or post it as your Facebook status. More times than not, the stigma of herpes is worst than actually having the virus, itself.  Then, the fear and anxiety set in as you try to ponder what life with herpes will be like. It is times like these where a little support can go a long way.

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Pictures of herpes can be scary!

Don’t worry! Pictures of herpes found on the web are usually worst case scenarios and are not typical!


Herpes pictures are some of the first things people tend to search for when they are newly diagnosed or worry they may be infected. Then the panic sets in. What shows up on the web can be horrifying and downright scary! Some look like a flesh-eating disease from a third world country. Don’t freak out because many of the pictures you will come across are probably the very extreme cases of a herpes outbreak.

Important Note – You cannot determine whether or not you have herpes simply by looking at pictures.  Some will look at the images online and think, “My symptoms don’t look like THAT!!!”  Then, they unknowingly pass the herpes virus to their partner.  The only way to know for sure is to get tested.

So, what does herpes actually look like? Under a microscope, HSV1 (Oral) and HSV2 (Genital) look virtual identical. When most people search for pictures of the herpes virus, they usually end up seeing what a worst case outbreak looks like…and they are not pretty!

First, let’s start off by mentioning that the first outbreak is probably the worst. Suppressive medication like Valtrex or Acyclovir can help alleviate the symptoms.  Yes,  it can suck, be painful and the fear can be overwhelming. For most, the symptoms lessen as time goes on. Many of our members report that they have very infrequent outbreaks or have not had any in years.

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GEN-003 is not being marked as a herpes cure quite yet

Genocea’s GEN-003 is not a herpes cure but rather a “Therapeutic Vaccination” for the moment.
Don’t be discouraged because this is a step in the right direction.

In an effort to find a cure for herpes, Genocea has received a lot of attention with its GEN-003 vaccine and clinical trials. At the moment, there seems to be some unwarranted expectations of what they are actually working on. Hopefully, with this update, there will be a better understanding.

First, let’s take “Herpes Cure” off the table for the time being. Genocea cannot market their GEN-003 as a “Cure” to the FDA at this time. It has to be worded carefully. Instead, the vaccination is referred to as a “Therapeutic Vaccination.”

Before we get to what this all means, let’s first explain the stages of a clinical trial for the FDA.  They usually are in 3 stages:

  1. Testing for Safety – This  is always done after testing on animals like mice and guinea pigs. If monkey testing is successful then things look good because their DNA is closest to ours.
  2. Efficacy – A drug (especially vaccination) has to be working at 75% or greater efficacy to go to market. If lower, it goes back to the drawing board. This is done on people with a small testing pool (Say 150) to test the dosage.
  3. The Big Rollout – This is a much wider testing pool of 1000’s of people to test the efficacy. This is used to shore up the data from the efficacy testing in phase 2. This phase is also what determines if it goes to market.

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Funding for a herpes vaccine

Now THAT is a lot of Benjamins going toward a herpes cure!


A vaccine or even a cure for herpes gets closer as Genocea Biosciences raises $30 million for research.  The biotech start-up has a proprietary technology to identify and use T-cell antigens to target large pathogens like HSV-2, pneumococcus, chlamydia and malaria, reports MedCityNews.

We were first excited when we heard about Genocea’s clinical trials for their herpes vaccine here.  If you are not familiar , a clinical trial is where they first start testing on people. Their GEN-003 vaccine showed great promise in reducing the severity and frequency of outbreaks in people with genital herpes (HSV2).  They have been testing on people for the last couple of months in various locations around the country.

Well it looks like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Microsoft Founder) and the investment firm of Henry Crown and Company along with others have raised $30 million for this research.  This is a good sign!  The funds will also go for a vaccine to prevent infections related to the bacteria, streptococcus pneumoniae.

What does this all mean?

The good:  The preliminary results of the GEN-003 vaccine must look very positive.  So positive, in fact,  that investors are willing to dump in a pile of cash to continue the research.   We have heard from a person that is taking part in the testing and they also say things are going very good.  If all goes well, a cure for herpes, a vaccine to prevent it or something to lessen the symptoms could be well on its way. [click to continue…]

A cure for herpes? A HSV2 vaccine study begins and volunteers are needed


Could a cure for Herpes be on its way?  A promising new clinical trial for a HSV2 vaccine  just opened up for human research testing and is looking for volunteers.

  • Genocea Biosciences – Our lead candidate in HSV-2 is GEN-003, a first-in-class, protein subunit, therapeutic T cell vaccine designed to reduce the duration and severity of clinical symptoms associated with moderate-to-severe HSV-2, and to control transmission of the infection. A Phase 1/2a clinical trial is currently underway to evaluate the safety and tolerability of GEN-003. The study will also assess the vaccine’s impact on viral shedding, the process by which the virus can spread between people. Read more about the ongoing clinical trial here.

Their press release goes on to explain it in more detail:

  • Cambridge, MA, August 15, 2012—Genocea Biosciences announced today that it has initiated a Phase 1/2a clinical study with its lead candidate, GEN-003. GEN-003 is an investigational vaccine designed to stimulate T cell and B cell immune responses to potentially reduce the frequency and severity of clinical outbreaks associated with moderate-to-severe Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 (HSV-2) infection.
  • This study is a double-blind, placebo-controlled dose escalation clinical trial enrolling approximately 150 volunteers with moderate-to-severe HSV-2 infection who are otherwise healthy. The study will seek to evaluate the safety and tolerability of GEN-003 and its ability to stimulate the immune system, as well as determine the impact of the vaccine upon viral shedding, which is considered to be a marker of disease recurrence and transmission.
  • Unlike prior investigational vaccines for HSV-2, GEN-003 is designed as a protein subunit vaccine to induce balanced B and T cell immune responses, which may be critical for addressing infections not sufficiently controlled by the B cell, or antibody, arm of the immune system alone. The vaccine is comprised of two proteins, ICP4 and gD2, as well as Matrix M™, a proprietary adjuvant from Isconova AB.
  • There is currently no preventive vaccine or cure for HSV-2, and therapeutic options are limited to daily antiviral medications or suppressive therapy. If approved, GEN-003 would be the first therapeutic vaccine for patients with HSV-2 infection.

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Herpes Type 1 and 2

Herpes simplex has 2 types. Type 1 (Usually Oral) and Type 2 (Genital)


The Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) can be broken down into two different types. HSV-1 is typically oral herpes where HSV-2 is almost always in the genital region. Without going into all the mind numbing medical details, we figured that we would break it down and explain what the difference is.

Both types share some similarities, such as:

  • Transmitted by skin to skin contact.
  • Look almost identical under a microscope
  • Person may not have any symptoms

Oral Herpes or HSV-1

Oral herpes or HSV-1 is typically associated with those annoying cold sores. This is because cold sores are almost always caused by the herpes virus. They are not to be confused with canker sores, which are totally different. It is estimated that somewhere up to 80% of people have HSV-1 antibodies. The virus usually affects children and remains dormant later on in life. For this reason, it is probably best to keep Aunt Maggie from laying that big smooch on your little one if she is showing signs of a cold sore.

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