Herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can cause cold sores on the mouth or genital warts in people who have it. Individuals who have this infection can expect to have periods of time where they have a multitude of lesions, and other times when they appear symptom-free. Recently, researchers from the Utah School of Medicine and the University of Massachusetts Medical School have identified a specific gene that affects how severe a person’s cold sore will be. Their results could lead to the creation of more effective medications to treat cold sores not only in herpes patients, but everyone who experiences common cold sores.
“These findings could have important implications for the development of new drugs that affect determinants of the cold sore phenotype,” said study authors.
Herpes, like all other STDs, may be prevented by practicing safer sex. Many people do not realize that this and other infections can be transmitted via oral sex, which is why it’s necessary to increase public awareness of the various ways a person can contract an STD.