A life-goal of mine: Turn HIV-1 into herpes. An STD that sucks, you have to take meds for, you have to tell your partner about, need to worry about passing to your baby in childbirth, but not a soul crushing death sentence, anywhere.
But even though herpes has some behaviors HIV-1 needs, HIV has an important feature HSV-2 lacks– Condoms kick ass at preventing HIV-1 transmission, but we werent sure if they worked all that well at preventing HSV-2 transmission. Cause HSV-2 is shed from epithelial cells (skin cells), and condoms dont cover all the skin thats shedding… so… *shrug*
Consistent condom users (used 100% of the time) had a 30% lower risk of HSV-2 acquisition compared with those who never used condoms (hazard ratio [HR], 0.70;
95% confidence interval [CI], 0.40-0.94) (P = .01). Risk for HSV-2 acquisition increased steadily and significantly with each unprotected sex act (HR, 1.16; 95% CI, 1.08-1.25) (P= .001). Condom effectiveness did not vary by gender.
Sure, 30% lower risk for HSV-2 transmission isnt as great as 87% with HIV-1, but hey! Its something!
I think the news is even better than that– This paper is an analysis of previously published data. Data from papers that were trying to assess the effectiveness of valacyclovir (Valtrex) and putative vaccine studies.
Except they only used data from the placebo groups!
Sooooo if you have HSV-2 and your partner doesnt, and you all always use condoms (ALWAYS GODDAMMIT. ALWAYS. NO EXCUSES.) aaaand you take valacyclovir once a day, youve got your risk of transmitting as low as you can get it with todays technologies/medicine!