Facts About Herpes

To dispel confusion about oral and genital variations of the virus, Dr. Tom Ferguson discussed the facts about herpes in this installment of his regular column.

| March/April 1981

  • facts about herpes - Tom Ferguson3
    Dr. Tom Ferguson covered the facts about herpes in his regular Medical Self Care column.
  • 068 facts about herpes - Fotolia - JSCREATIONZS
    The general public had a poor understanding of the facts about herpes in the early 1980s.

  • facts about herpes - Tom Ferguson3
  • 068 facts about herpes - Fotolia - JSCREATIONZS

Genital herpes isn't the sort of subject that we usually cover in MOTHER EARTH NEWS. However, since there has been a good bit of seemingly misleading information about this illness in the media lately—and because so much of that information has been of a "scare story" nature—we felt that our readers deserved the facts about herpes and an opportunity to read a matter-of-fact discussion of the "new" disease that has affected the lives of a great many North Americans.  

An Epidemic of Ignorance

It's estimated that some 20 million Americans now have sexually transmitted herpes, a disease that's been called "the heartbreaker" largely because health workers often say (incorrectly!) that it is incurable. The fact is, however, that the body itself can cure this infection, and that people who help their bodies deal with it suffer less frequent and less severe attacks.

Herpes is caused by either of two closely related viruses: the herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2). Both the HSV's are "contact viruses": that is, they're spread from person to person by direct skin-to-skin contact... usually kissing (in the case of the familiar oral, or labial, herpes that's usually called a cold sore) or sexual contact (in the case of genital herpes). In fact, the only difference between cold sores and genital herpes is in the location of the infection!

Genital herpes sores are painful reddish blisters that erupt on the penis, on the vaginal lips, or inside the vagina. They last from one to several weeks, then disappear.

Many "experts" call herpes incurable because there is—at present—no drug capable of destroying the virus and no vaccine able to confer immunity. The same facts are true, of course, of the common cold ... and the body deals with a herpes infection in the same way it copes with a cold: It mobilizes the immune system to cure it.

Furthermore, in the immune-system/herpes battle, the former is heavily favored. In fact, only about one-third of the people who acquire the virus ever experience the recurrent flare-ups commonly thought to be always associated with it.

Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019


Next: April, 27-28 2019
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters