Herpes can be devastating but treatment and testing remain low

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Some men have told her flat out that they would never date someone with herpes, but what bothers them are the ones who say, “I’m sorry this happened to you.”

“I don’t want people to feel sorry for me,” she said. “I wake up every day and I’m fine.”

Dr. Harvey Friedman, professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, who has studied the disease for more than 40 years, said scientists have worked on a herpes vaccine since the 1970s. But previous attempts have failed, for reasons researchers are still trying to uncover.

Because herpes has been around for so long, the viruses have evolved alongside us, making them more difficult to eradicate, said Christine Johnston, an associate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine who studies herpes.

There are new vaccines under development. Dr. Friedman is working with BioNTech on an HSV-2 vaccine candidate that was administered to the first human subject in December. A professor of family and community medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of “Strange Bedfellows: Adventures in Science, History, and Surprising Secrets,” Dr. Ina Park said, but none are in late-stage clinical trials. STD” “There’s nothing anywhere close to prime time,” she said.

When Ella Dawson, 30, contracted genital HSV-1 in college, she began posting openly about her diagnosis on social media. To her surprise, people came out of the woodwork to share their stories — friends, relatives, even a cashier who worked at the grocery store on campus. Several people told her that they had not disclosed their diagnosis to anyone other than a sexual partner.

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