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Why Is Acyclovir Given for Genital Herpes and Chickenpox?

Why Is Acyclovir Used for Genital Herpes?

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is caused by a virus, usually herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Symptoms of genital herpes may include:
 
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Bumps
  • Tingling
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Painful urination (see Genital Herpes Symptoms for more information).
 
Genital herpes blisters usually heal within one to two weeks. Most people who are infected with genital herpes will have recurrent outbreaks. Acyclovir cannot cure genital herpes, as the virus will always remain in your body. However, the medication can help blisters heal more quickly.
 
If taken on a daily basis, acyclovir can also help prevent genital herpes outbreaks from occurring and may decrease the severity of outbreaks.
 
Even while taking acyclovir, it is important to avoid sexual contact while you are having a genital herpes outbreak to prevent spreading the virus to your partner. It is important to always use condoms, even between outbreaks, as genital herpes can be spread at any time.
 

Why Is Acyclovir Used for Chickenpox?

Chickenpox is an infectious disease caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), a virus that is part of the herpes virus family. Chickenpox results in a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness, and fever.
 
Symptoms can begin with one to two days of low-grade fever and tiredness. These early symptoms of chickenpox do not always occur before the chickenpox rash develops. These are followed by itchy blisters that first appear on the trunk, face, and scalp. These blisters can spread over the entire body, causing between 250 and 500 itchy blisters. The chickenpox rash can appear in three or more successive waves. Eventually, the blisters crust over.
 
Most cases of chickenpox can be treated at home, without prescription medications. However, more serious cases of chickenpox, as well as chickenpox in adolescents and adults, sometimes require treatment with prescription medications such as acyclovir.
 
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