Please increase research funding to promote a cure and better treaments for HSV 1 and 2.
Herpes is a national, and worldwide epidemic. It increases one's chances of acquiring HIV, it causes blindness, it has been linked to Alzheimer's and certainly causes depression, anxiety and untold suffering amongst the afflicted and their loved ones. Additionally, herpes makes individuals who have AIDS more infectious. Equally important, 2011 evidence from the University of Iowa has proven that acquiring hsv2 early by young men significantly increases the risk of developing prostate cancer - http://www.internalmedicinenews.com/specialty-focus/men-s-health/single-article-page/genital-herpes-may-double-prostate-cancer-risk.html.
The CDC estimates that 48 million people in the United States alone suffers from genital herpes. It is estimated that there are 500,000 new cases each year in the United States alone. Various estimates indicate the direct costs of treating genital herpes alone to be between 1 and 3 billion dollars per annum. This does not take into account productivity losses and the costs to treat resulting depression, etc. Additionally, this also does not reflect the economic burden associated with HSV-1 or oral/facial herpes which affects as many as 50% of the United States population and as many as 90% of the US population 50 years of age and older.
As a signer of this petition, taxpayer and proud citizen of the United States I respectfully ask that you do everything within your powers to increase research funding for this terrible disease!
I'd like to inform you about the Herpes Simplex Virus, HSV-1 (Cold Sores, Genital HSV-1 and Ocular Herpes) & HSV-2 (Genital Herpes which can become Oral Herpes). In an article by Webmd.com, they state that those infected with herpes are more at risk of contracting HIV.
HSV-1 affects 90% of people by age 50 nationwide HSV-2 affects approximately 45 million people. Here's a cure and vaccine option to show interest in. Imagine the amount of people with and without health care insurance who would be freed of getting suppressing herpes medicine monthly. This would free up hospitals greatly and allow doctors to focus on other medical issues. Herpes plays a role in the spread of HIV. Herpes can make people more susceptible to HIV infection&. No longer shall those affected by this virus accept suppression as the norm. Equally important, 2011 evidence from the University of Iowa has proven that acquiring HSV-2 early by young men significantly increases the risk of developing prostate cancer - http://www.internalmedicinenews.com/specialty-focus/men-s-health/single-article-page/genital-herpes-may-double-prostate-cancer-risk.html.
90% of people infected show no signs or symptoms of being infected. After initial infection, the virus moves in the trigeminal ganglion (HSV-1) and cranial nerves near the spine (HSV-2), where it's resides as a life-long, latent virus. Though many don't experience signs or symptoms including outbreaks, they're able to pass the virus to others. If you have sex, even kiss someone with no cold sores present (HSV-1 spreads at times when there are no visible symptoms due to what is known as herpes viral shedding) you have a chance of getting herpes. Condoms are not 100% effective against herpes. The herpes sore or lesion is not always located in an area covered by a condom. Many people who get tested may believe herpes testing is included, it is not. Herpes is not included in the routine Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) testing.
HSV-1 commonly affects the mouth and eye region. HSV-1 is now being linked to Alzheimer’s. A sad debilitating disease many of us at one point in our life encounter. Either we become ill by this disease or a loved one becomes victim to it.
A team discovered that the HSV1 DNA is located very specifically in amyloid plaques: 90% of plaques in Alzheimer's disease sufferers' brains contain HSV1 DNA, and most of the viral DNA is located within amyloid plaques. The team had previously shown that HSV1 infection of nerve-type cells induces deposition of the main component, beta amyloid, of amyloid plaques. Together, these findings strongly implicate HSV1 as a major factor in the formation of amyloid deposits and plaques, abnormalities thought by many in the field to be major contributors to Alzheimer's disease.
Now, let’s look into the Alzheimer’s statistics and how everyone is being affected by this virus. Directly or indirectly all of us are affected because millions of tax dollars are being used to treat our older population who become victim to this disease.
Key facts about Alzheimer's disease
Key facts about Alzheimer's disease
5.3 million people have Alzheimer's
172 billion dollars in annual costs
7th leading cause of death
10.9 million unpaid caregivers
Alzheimer's disease mortality is on the rise
With a rapidly aging baby boomer population, Alzheimer's will continue to impact more lives. From 2000-2006, Alzheimer's disease deaths increased 46.1 percent, while other selected causes of death decreased. Strategic investments in other diseases have resulted in declines in deaths, and we need to see the same type of investment for Alzheimer's.
Source: Alzheimer's Association 2010 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures
Just when you thought there could be nothing more detrimentally than herpes being linked to Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately it’s well known that herpes does affect the eyes. This is what is referred to as Ocular Herpes (HSV). Now, let’s look into ocular herpes statistics. Once again we are all directly affected and healthcare cost is continuously rising.
Approximately 20,000 new cases of ocular HSV occur in the United States annually, and more than 28,000 reactivations occur in the United States annually. It is one of the most frequent causes of blindness in the United States with 500,000 people experiencing HSV-related ocular disease.
HSV infection is ubiquitous, with an estimated one third of the population worldwide suffering from recurrent infections.
HSV keratitis is the most frequent cause of corneal blindness in the United States and is a leading indication for corneal transplantation. HSV keratitis is also the most common cause of infectious blindness in the Western world.
Most HSV eye disease occurs in adults, and it occurs many years after the primary infection. However, herpetic keratitis in children almost always involves the corneal epithelium and is marked by a disproportionate risk of binocular disease, a high recurrence rate, and amblyopia.
Life-Long Inhibition - Professor David Bloom at University of Florida has created a way to cut the virus’ RNA to prevent reactivation. By designing special enzymes called “hammerhead ribozymes”, he's able to target a so-called “late” gene that releases its protein product relatively late after infection. With late genes, partial corruption of the genetic material is sufficient to shut down virus production, as opposed to “early” genes, which would require total inactivation to hinder the process. When administered by a single injection after the initial infection, the therapy provides life-long inhibition of recurring outbreaks.
Cure - Professor Bryan Cullen at Duke University is figuring out how to switch the virus from latency to its active stage. After it's active and a cold sore appears, it's treatable with the drug acyclovir, which kills replicating HSV-1. Cullen believes that a drug could be developed to block the microRNA that suppress HSV-1 into latency; once it's active, acyclovir can be used to destroy the virus permanently.
Vaccine - Professor David Knipe of Harvard Medical School studies the molecular and cellular biology of herpes simplex virus productive and latent infection and the mechanism of the host immune response to HSV. They've also have been studying a candidate genital herpes vaccine that they've developed, and are constructing and studying HSV recombinants as vaccine vectors for AIDS, SARS, West Nile and anthrax vaccines.
Ref: All About Genital Herpes: If You Have or Are at Risk for HIV
Ref: How common is oral herpes?
Ref: Genital Herpes - CDC Fact Sheet (How common is genital herpes?)
Ref: Genital Herpes - CDC Fact Sheet (What are the complications of genital herpes?)
Ref: Scientists Learn Why Even Treated Genital Herpes Sores Boost the Risk of HIV Infection
Ref: How common are cold sores?
Ref: How is the cold sore virus spread?
Ref: Steps to greatly reduce the risk of infection
Ref: Herpes is NOT included in routine STD screening.
Ref: University of Florida - Potential new herpes therapy studied
Ref: Duke University - A Cure for Cold Sores? Times Article
Ref: Harvard Medical School - Knipe Lab
Ref: University of Manchester (2008, December 7). Cold Sore Virus Linked To Alzheimer's Disease: New Treatment, Or Even Vaccine Possible
Ref: Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures. Alzheimer’s Association.
Ref: Keratitis, Herpes Simplex. eMedicine from WebMD