Herpes behaves in a way that makes it very difficult to attempt a cure. It is possible to prevent outbreaks with suppressive therapy and people can reduce the pain of an outbreak with conventional or alternative treatments, but developing treatments is very different than knocking the virus entirely out of a person’s body.
When herpes infections aren’t active, the virus hides out in the cells of the nervous system. Between outbreaks, the infection is considered to be latent and it is effectively invisible to drugs and the immune system. That’s where the problem comes in. During active infections, some of the hidden virus “wakes up” to do its dirty work. That virus can be addressed through treatment. However, as long as any herpes virus remains hidden, it’s impossible for treatment to lead to a full cure.
One of the most passionate questions being asked is whether there will ever be a cure for herpes. Many people are frustrated because they believe that a cure exists. They’re convinced their doctors don’t know about it or are hiding the cure from them.
In part, these beliefs are due to the large number of fraudulent STD treatments—in particular, fake herpes cures that are advertised on the internet.
However, it also may partially be because we live in a society where herpes is so stigmatized that not even doctors want to talk about it. (And sometimes doctors have incorrect information.)
That said, people shouldn’t be afraid that there’s a hidden cure for herpes. Herpes is a huge problem. If someone developed a herpes cure, they would probably win a Nobel prize.