Finding that may hold promise for couples trying to prevent herpes transmission is that people with herpes who take antiherpes medications (acyclovir, famciclovir, valacyclovir) on a regular basis (or suppressivefy; see later discussion) have fewer outbreaks. In addition, there is evidence that the level of shedding of the virus is significantly lower when people take acyclovir on a suppressive basis. Studies are investigating whether the newer medications also suppress shedding of the virus. People taking these medications may have a lower likelihood of transmitting herpes to their partners, and studies are also under way to see if this is true. If so, these medications may provide an option for couples who want to do something more to prevent transmission.
Extensive research is being performed to find a vaccine to prevent people from ever becoming infected with herpes viruses. If it is proven effective, a herpes vaccine could join the already available hepatitis A and B vaccines in the prevention of sexually transmitted infection.