Herpes and HIV
Increased Susceptibility to HIV
There is increasing evidence that points to a significant link between HIV 1 epidemics and HSV 2 infections. Many studies have proven that when a person has HSV 2, there is greater risk of acquiring HIV 1. It has also shown that the mucosal shedding of HIV 1 virus is more frequent and also more intense in greater quantity during the HSV 2 replication period. Most patients who are infected with HIV 1 are also infected with HSV 2. The study goes on to show that genital HSV infection can result in an increased risk of acquiring HIV 1. People who are infected with herpes are thus more likely to get an HIV infection. It also increases the risk of infecting others.
When the skin is intact, it offers a great barrier against the HIV infection. However, when herpes infects an individual, there are lesions and ulcers on the skin. These interrupt the barrier and offer the perfect site for HIV to enter the bloodstream of the individual and infect him or her.
People who are infected with HIV and also have Herpes or HSV have a higher concentration of the HIV infection in the genital fluid. When there is more HIV concentration, there is a greater chance of infecting a partner.
Treating HSV reduces the Risk
There appears to be a bond between the two viruses, the HIV and the HSV virus. When Genital herpes is detected and treated, it reduces the HIV infection rates. However, it is very difficult to treat HSV in those with HIV, as immunosuppression increases in such people. Such people offer more resistance to Acyclovier, which is used in the treatment for HSV. It, therefore, seems that those with HIV should also be given therapy that is HSV specific. Due to this connection between HSV and HIV, it is important to treat HSV, as it can reduce the risk of HIV infection.
Studies on women with ulcerative lesions or herpes indicate that such women have higher levels of HIV present in their genital fluid, compared to those who don’t suffer from herpes. When the lesions or herpes was treated, the HIV levels also reduced. Treating HSV, thus, reduces the ability of transmitting HIV, as there is less HIV available for transmitting to the partner or infecting him or her.
It is important to bear in mind that the trends of decreasing HIV in those treated for Herpes or HSV is quite small on an individual level. However, when you talk of an entire population being treated for HSV, even a small reduction in the HIV transmission levels, can result in a huge number of negative HIV tests.
Knowing the link between HIV and HSV or Herpes, we can understand that herpes treatment can reduce the infection rates of HIV. Such treatment programs for Herpes can substantially prevent and reduce HIV infection. Resources can be used more efficiently and both the epidemics, the HIV and the HSV, can be better controlled.