Herpes can be scary as hell.
It's also super common: According to WHO, 67 percent of people worldwide under the age of 50 have HSV-1 (the virus that causes oral herpes), and 11 percent of people aged 15 to 49 have HSV-2 (the virus that causes genital herpes).
There has never been a cure for herpes — until maybe, potentially, now.
A new, 3-shot herpes treatment (a therapeutic vaccine) called TheravaxHSV-2 is still in its super early trial stages, but it's been shown to reduce symptoms more effectively than antiviral drugs already on the market. Which is HUGE.
In short, TheravaxHSV-2 has already significantly improved the lives of people who have HSV-1 and HSV-2.
Dr. William Halford, chief science officer of Rational Vaccines, has been researching this vaccine in pre-clinical studies for over a decade. He believes the antiviral drugs doctors have been using for the past 30 years have simply not been effective in stopping the spread of herpes.
"Over one million people per week continue to be newly infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2," Halford says. "It's time to offer herpes sufferers a 21st century solution with the potential to not only better treat herpes, but to simply stop the spread of the disease."
While herpes is certainly not the most threatening disease in the world, people with herpes suffer huge social consequences. Herpes jokes in nearly every Judd Apatow movie suggest people with herpes are whores, or that literally anything would be better than getting herpes.
Hopefully this therapeutic vaccine will help people with the STD feel less stigmatized.