New research makes strides toward potential herpes vaccine

Anyone who is sexually active likely worries about the chances of contracting a sexually transmitted disease from a partner. The herpes virus is one of the more concerning diseases, and while condoms can help prevent the strain from spreading, there is always the chance that someone could become infected. However, it looks as though researchers are making strides toward a vaccine for the incurable disease.

According to research from the New England Journal of Medicine, a vaccine was found to help protect some women against one of the two types of herpes simplex viruses known as simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Researchers noted that while some women were protected against the strain, none of the 8,000 female test subjects were protected against herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), gives hope to scientists that they're getting closer to a potential cure for the disease.

"There is some very good news in our findings. We were partially successful against half of the equation – protecting women from genital disease caused by HSV-1," said Dr. Robert Belshe, director of the Saint Louis University Center for Vaccine Development and lead author of the study. "It's a big step along the path to creating an effective vaccine that protects against genital disease caused by herpes infection. It points us in the direction to work toward making a vaccine that works on both herpes simplex viruses."

In the meantime, there are steps individuals can take to lessen their chances of contracting herpes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends abstaining from sex with a person until both parties are tested for the disease, or at least using condoms until both individuals are in the clear.

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