Will Herpes Affect Contracting The Corona Virus?

“If I have herpes, would it make me more susceptible to catching other viruses, including Corona?”

A few mornings ago, I woke to see several of the same questions about herpes and the possible connection to the coronavirus. One particular question that stood out was, “If I have herpes, would it make me more susceptible to catching other viruses, including Corona?” I think this assumption was being made for a few reasons. 

  1. Many think that herpes is an auto-immune issue because they experience frequent symptoms and outbreaks.
  2. Some think their immune system sucks because they experience frequent symptoms and outbreaks.
  3. Some think that herpes will cause them to get sick from other ailments or antigens.
  4. Some think that herpes damages their immune system.
  5. Many think that because there is a 2-3 fold increased risk of catching HIV {1} this means that herpes makes them immune-compromised.

Fortunately, most of this is incorrect, but since we took this trip, maybe…

It’s time to un-pack.

Herpes is a virus, one that creates a viral infection within the nervous system that can lay dormant {2} for long periods of time and cause recurrent disease. Most people who are seropositive never experience any symptoms. This is 80% of the population of people who have either types of herpes, HSV-1 and/or HSV-2.  

When people in this category experience symptoms, they are generally insignificant or unnoticeable. “Where did that pimple come from?”  This is due to having a very favorable immune response to the virus. A proper reaction to herpes allows the immune system to identify most, if not all, of the 75 proteins that make up the virus. Thus, allowing it to create the proper antibodies response that is necessary to fight the virus properly and keep it at bay.

It’s very sad to say, that approximately 20% of those infected with herpes simplex will suffer from frequent and uncomfortable symptoms. These can include; sharp pains, tingling sensations, severe neurologic pain, UTI’s, BV, outbreaks, and frequent painful ulcers. However, the intensity or duration of how someone will suffer from a herpes outbreak will depend solely upon their immune system’s reaction to the virus.{3} A great deal of these individuals have an immune system that has failed to identify most, or all of the 75 proteins, in order to effectively control the disease due to these missing pieces of instructions. They may also have other issues that have caused this lack of response. Herpes is very sneaky.

When a person has an auto-immune condition or they are immunocompromised before becoming infected with herpes, many will suffer from frequent symptoms. It is this pre-existing condition or conditions, that can cause an inadequate response to the virus. So, when it comes to the idea that herpes is going to cause a person to contract viruses like the corona virus any quicker, it’s not. It’s all up to your immune response, not herpes (with the exception of herpes causing a 2-3 fold increased risk of contracting HIV ).{1}

If you do not have an auto-immune condition or are immune-compromised, but still suffer outbreaks, you simply have a very poor response to the virus. This doesn’t mean your immune system is terrible or that it sucks, just the response to herpes does. Although, an argument could stand quite firm that a situation such as that, does indeed. . .suck.

Auto-immune or immuno-compromised?

An auto-immune disease is a condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body’s cells. In conditions like this (listed below), the immune system mistakes part of your body as foreign invaders instead of recognizing them as good cells. 

  1. Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  2. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA),
  3. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  4. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
  5. Type 1 Diabetes
  6. Addison’s disease 
  7. Graves’ disease 
  8. Sjögren’s syndrome 
  9. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Herpes is not a disease that causes the immune system to attack itself. Still, a lack of response to the virus caused by having auto-immune issues will indeed allow the virus to emerge and reproduce more often. 

What about herpes causing me to be immuno-compromised?

“Patients who are immunocompromised have a reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases. This may be caused by certain diseases or conditions, such as AIDS, cancer, diabetes, malnutrition, and certain genetic disorders. It may also be caused by certain medicines or treatments, such as anticancer drugs, radiation therapy, and stem cell or organ transplant also called immuno-suppressed. An immune deficiency or be immunocompromised when their immune system is incapable of working at full capacity.” {4} 

“Chronic conditions that affect the immune system include heart disease, lung disease, lupus, and diabetes. Other conditions that can leave a person immunocompromised include cancer, HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, and some rare genetic disorders, says Dr. Li. Chemotherapy and steroids can also lower immunity. “They suppress the body’s ability to activate its immune defenses by destroying immune cells or by blunting the cell’s ability to spot and kill bacteria,” Dr. Li explains. {5}

Herpes simplex will trick the immune system {6} but it does not cause a person to become immunocompromised. “Oral and genital herpes can be uncomfortable, but they are generally not dangerous infections in healthy adults. Herpes does not affect the immune system.” {7}

It’s also paramount to remember herpes has many immune evasion strategies that it employs during the infection process. These strategies make herpes very successful at evading both innate (complement activation and adaptive (antibodies and T cells) immune responses. Because of the immune evasion strategies, it is possible that the immune cells in individuals suffering from recurrent disease may have missed many of the intended targets of herpes. {8} 

 There is always going to be a percentage of people who’s immune system did not see the virus properly simply due to its sneaky and aggressive behavior; it can happen. If you are unsure whether or not you have any issues with your immune system, go get yourself tested! Perhaps a DNA test?

Corona virus, what you need to know.


{1} Herpes outbreaks can provides a way for HIV to enter the body. Even without visible sores, having genital herpes increases the number of CD4 cells (the cells that HIV targets for entry into the body) found in the lining of the genitals. 

CD4+ T cells, which HIV targets and infects, appears at the sites of healed genital HSV-2 lesions at concentrations 2 to 37 times greater than in unaffected genital skin. Moreover, the CD4+ T cells at healed lesion sites expressed higher levels of 2 cell-surface receptors—CCR5 and CXCR4—that HIV uses to enter T cells. Compared to control tissue, the sites of healed genital herpes lesions also had a significantly higher concentration of immune cells known to ferry HIV particles to CD4+ T cells, whether or not the patient was treated with acyclovir.

How did you get herpes? It’s really quite simple. You’re a human being and you’re alive. Welcome to the planet.

Originally posted: https://askingforafriend.us/articles/f/will-herpes-affect-contracting-the-corona-virus

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