According to the Centers for Disease Control more than 400,000 people have seen a doctor to treat genital herpes. While the number of patients did decline in 2009, the number is slowly on the rise again.
For some patients suffering with genital herpes an anti-viral medication called Valtrex is prescribed. While this medication does not cure the disease, it does ease the pain and itching caused by it. The medication can also help heal sores.
Now research has shown that pregnant women taking Valtrex lowers the rate of caesarean sections to avoid passing the disease to the baby. The study shows the herpes virus is less likely to be passed on the child during delivery if the mom is taking the anti-herpes medication. Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center made this discovery.
“I think this will help immensely in giving doctors stronger evidence in using this treatment,” said Dr. Jeanne Sheffield, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study. “Besides reducing the number of herpes outbreaks at birth, we also dropped the numbers of women without symptoms who were shedding the virus into the birth canal.”
“In rare cases, infants can catch herpes simplex virus from the birth canal or genital region of the mother during birth, even when the mother isn’t showing symptoms,” the press release stated. “Current medical protocol is to offer C-sections to all women with active genital herpes lesions at the time of delivery.” Nonetheless, 70 percent of neonatal herpes cases occur in infants of women who shed the virus near delivery, according to the researchers.
“The whole goal of this study was to reduce active genital herpes lesions at delivery that require a Caesarean delivery to prevent neonatal herpes,” Dr. Sheffield said. “This study show offer some reassurance and confidence to those dealing with genital herpes.”
Valtrex is available through eDrugstore.com, a safe online pharmacy.