Q and A


I am HIV positive and suffering from recurrent herpes simplex.

I am HIV positive and suffering from recurrent herpes simplex. What can be the reason? I am on Atripla treatment.


Thank-you for your question. It’s not unusual for people with HIV to also be infected with herpes. Herpes outbreaks are linked to the immune system so your CD4 count affects how likely you are to have a herpes attack. When the CD4 is low attacks are common, but as the CD4 increases they become less likely. So if you recently started treatment it’s likely that you will have fewer attacks as your CD4 increases. But some people on treatment do still get herpes attacks, and this can be helped with prophylaxis (preventative) treatment.

It’s difficult for me to give you a personal answer without a bit more information. It would be useful to know your most recent CD4 count. It would also be useful to know more about your herpes occurrences- how often they occur and whether you take any treatment for them.

Herpes infections are usually treated with aciclovir (Zovirax). The body processes aciclovir in the same way as tenofovir, one of the three drugs in Atripla. Because herpes treatment and tenofovir are both processed in the kidneys they can react with each other. This doesn’t mean they can’t be used together but your doctor might want to monitor this more closely, or adjust the dose.

Aciclovir can be taken to treat serious attacks of genital or anal ulcers. Aciclovir can also be taken on a regular basis to prevent recurrent attacks of herpes. In the UK aciclovir is recommended on a regular basis if you have two or more herpes attacks in a year. You may want to consider this if you are experiencing frequent, severe or long-lasting herpes attacks. This would involve taking aciclovir every day or every two days.


  1. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Lerato,

    We are not doctors at i-Base, but we do give up to date info about HIV treatment to people who are positive, and to their friends and families.

    However, it’s a good idea to have a sexual health check with your doctor if you think you have herpes. You can ask for a check for other sexually transmitted infections too.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *