Herpes simplex virus infections are among other few non-HIV viral infections that can be treated with antiviral therapy. Treatment with specific antiviral chemotherapy is used to (a) prevent disease and recurrence, (b) treat the infection, and (c) to reduce the clinical course of infection.
Acyclovir: It is a synthetic acyclic purine nucleotide analog,which is most commonly used to treat HSV infection. Acyclovir is useful:
· to diminish shedding of viruses,
· to decrease rate of clinical recurrences, and
· to suppress recurrent genital infections.
Oral therapy with acyclovir is usually recommended for primary orolabial and genital HSV infections, which are non–life-threatening. Intravenous acyclovir is recommended for life-threatening and serious HSV infections, such as encephalitis, infections in immunocompromised patients, and occasional severe orolabial or genital cases.
Famciclovir and valacyclovir are other antiviral agents used against HSV.
Prevention and Control
Prevention of genital HSV infection is difficult because most transmission occurs during subclinical viral shedding. Nevertheless, abstinence from sexual intercourse while the patients have prodromal symptoms or lesions or use of con-doms may be useful. But these methods are not fully protec-tive. Prevention of transmission of HSV from mother to infant is also difficult due to presence of asymptomatic primary or recurrent genital infection. In such infected mothers, trans-mission can be prevented by avoiding vaginal delivery and instead delivering by caesarian section. At present, no vaccine is available for use against HSV.