The Total Addressable Market (TAM) for genital herpes treatment was valued at USD 2.43 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 3.45 million by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 3.96% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
Herpes is an infectious disease brought on by HSV. HSV infection, commonly known as herpes infection, can be caused by either HSV-1 or HSV-2. It is transmitted through sexual contact (infected fluids) or contact with infected skin (open wounds). Herpes symptoms include itching, fever, chills, body ache, and pain and discomfort when urinating. Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can produce blisters and open sores around the genital area. Genital herpes is most likely to spread when an infected person has an outbreak, but it can also apply without symptoms. The daily use of antiviral drugs can prevent or reduce the severity and episodes of genital herpes infection.
|Market Size||USD 3.45 million by 2031|
|Fastest Growing Market||Europe|
|Largest Market||North America|
|Report Coverage||Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends|
Topical drugs are applied to specific body parts, usually the skin, to treat various illnesses. The acceptance of local/topical medicines is high due to their advantages. The skin is ideal for drug administration, providing patients with a practical and comfortable medical future. Genital herpes treatment creams such as OTC antiviral therapy help fast recover from HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections. Abreva (Docosanol) is the only Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved antiviral drug for genital and oral herpes infections that patients can get without a prescription. This drug comes as a cream formulation that patients can use directly in the affected area every three to four hours.
In addition, doctors prescribe topical antiviral drugs to help reduce the symptoms of genital herpes during the first episode and recurrent episodes. Acyclovir cream treats herpes on the face and lips (herpes labialis). Genital herpes treatment acyclovir dose is used to treat the first outbreak of genital herpes and pain caused by HSV infection. Hence, the demand for topical genital herpes treatment drugs propels market growth.
Genital herpes is transmitted through physical, especially sexual, contact with a person infected with the HSV. The virus lies dormant in the body after infection and can reactivate a few times yearly. In 2016, 3.7 billion individuals younger than 50, or 67% of the population, had an HSV-1 infection (oral or genital). Most genital HSV-1 infections are estimated to occur in the Americas, Europe, and the Western Pacific regions, where HSV-1 is well acquired during adulthood.
Genital herpes caused by HSV-2 is a global issue. In 2016, an expected 491 million (13%) individuals between the ages of 15 and 49 lived with HSV-2 infection. The female population is more affected by HSV-2 than the male. In 2016, it was estimated that 313 million women and 178 million men had HSV-2 infection because sexual transmission of HSV is more familiar from men to women than from women to men. Neonatal herpes can occur when a child is exposed to HSV-1 or HSV-2 in the genital tract at birth. Thus, the increase in the burden of STDs drives the global market.
There are a lot of social stigmas associated with STDs. Stigma is a low-value position that society assigns to conditions and attributes. People diagnosed with STDs often experience shame, fear, embarrassment, fear of isolation, rejection, and sexual reluctance, leading to reduced self-esteem. The diagnosis of STDs may contribute to post-diagnosis self-loathing and depression. For example, the social stigma attached to an STD diagnosis may make some people feel suicidal.
In addition, not being open to others about health problems can lead to depression. People infected with STDs may lose their partners or experience intimate partner violence. The stigma of STDs is not always directional. However, undirected stigma can be emotionally painful. In low-income economies, the social stigma associated with genital herpes is more, and it obstructs people from discussing their disease and its treatment. People prefer not to visit clinicians’ offices due to the stigma associated with STDs. These factors can hamper the growth of the global genital herpes treatment market.
Online pharmacies give heavy discounts to attract new customers, leading to pricing competition among existing online pharmacies. This strategy is expected to increase its market share or customer base eventually. In addition, providing value-added services, such as free delivery, also attracts customers to online pharmacies. Companies offer several payment options to consumers, such as online banking, credit cards, debit cards, coupons, or cash on delivery (COD). These payment methods increase the convenience and desire of clients to make drug purchases online.
In addition, companies allow customers to make online purchases and payments without insisting they open an account. Companies only ask customers for their names, addresses, and contact numbers. Genital herpes patients can easily procure treatment drugs through online pharmacies. Many prescriptions and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are available in online pharmacies. For instance, Zovirax from GSK, Acivir 400 DT, Valcivir from Cipla, etc., are brands of genital herpes drugs available in online pharmacies. Thus, the increase in online purchases of genital herpes treatment drugs creates opportunities for the market to grow.
By region, the market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa.
North America is the most significant shareholder in the global genital herpes treatment market and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 3.20% during the forecast period. The region holds the highest market value due to better healthcare access, coverage, and spending. The area witnessed notable advances in genital herpes treatment in the past decade. In 2018, an estimated 67.6 million people in the US had recurring STIs, and 26.2 million were newly infected with STDs. In the same year, the population between 15 and 24 years of age accounted for almost one-fifth of all STDs. Chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and genital herpes are the most common infections in all age groups, thus contributing to regional market growth.
Europe is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 3.45% over the forecast period. Europe is the second-largest market for genital herpes treatment and is expected to grow steadily during the forecast period. Germany, the UK, France, Spain, and Italy are the primary revenue generators in the region. Favorable patient demographics and high awareness of advanced treatment options for STIs drive the market's steady growth in Europe. In addition, more than two-thirds (67.4%) of the European population tested positive for HSV-1, 32.5% of children and 74.4% of adults, per a study published in the BMJ Global Health journal in 2020. This is expected to contribute to the market growth over the forecast period.
Asia Pacific's genital herpes treatment market is expected to grow faster during the forecast period. A large patient population with various chronic conditions, improvement in healthcare infrastructure, and increased healthcare expenditure contribute to the market's growth in the region. STDs and associated consequences are widespread in Southeast Asia (SEA) and the Western Pacific region. The main STDs are gonorrhea, chancroid, non-gonococcal urethritis, and syphilis. However, there is a definite increase in the clinical incidence of genital herpes and genital warts. There is treatment available for genital herpes, but pharmaceutical companies still work on the development of innovative herpes treatment drugs to completely cure the disease. For instance, Taiwan-based United BioPharma joined the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Cheng Kung University to fight against the global herpes endemic. They test the effectiveness of UB-621, a best-in-class long-acting treatment for genital herpes caused by HSV-1 and HSV-2. Such factors will drive the growth of the genital herpes treatment market in the Asia-Pacific.
In Latin America, the presence of a large patient population with chronic conditions, improvement in healthcare infrastructure, and increased healthcare expenditure contribute to the regional market's growth. In the last 20 years, the prevalence of STIs in absolute incidence and disability-adjusted life years increased. General regional numbers show that the prevalence of STIs, such as genital herpes, exceeds 10% in these populations, with no reduction over the last 15 years.
The global genital herpes treatment market is segmented by drug type, distribution channel, virus type, and route of administration.
By drug type, the global market is divided into acyclovir, valacyclovir, famciclovir, and other drugs.
The acyclovir drug segment is responsible for the largest market share and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 3.68% over the forecast period. Acyclovir belongs to a family of antiviral drugs used to treat infections caused by viruses. Usually, these drugs work only for one type or group of viral infections. Acyclovir is used to prevent the development of genital herpes in people infected with HSV. It also treats cold sores caused by herpes simplex, shingles caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), and chickenpox around the mouth. It works by preventing the HSV from spreading throughout the body. Oral, topical, and injectable formulations of acyclovir are available in the market.
The medication valacyclovir is used to treat viral infections. Valacyclovir is used to treat or prevent genital herpes. In children, it treats chickenpox and cold sores around the mouth. It is used to treat cold sores and shingles in adults. Valacyclovir is the antiviral medication administered most frequently to treat genital lesions. Due to its better oral bioavailability than oral acyclovir, it just needs one daily dose. However, valacyclovir is more expensive than acyclovir, which is essential in deciding which antiviral drug to prescribe or choose. Novartis AG, Cipla, and Mylan are key players that offer generic versions of valacyclovir.
By distribution channel, the global market is segmented into retail pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, and online pharmacies.
The retail pharmacies segment owns the highest market share and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.90% over the forecast period. Retail pharmacies sell pharmaceutical products, including prescription and OTC drugs. Retail pharmacies also offer a variety of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) along with pharmaceutical products and related services. It is anticipated that retailers with solid sales capabilities will be able to strengthen the market presence of their private-label products. Many antiviral drugs are available in the offline market as OTC drugs. People with herpes infection often prefer to buy medications from retail pharmacies without consultation with physicians due to social stigma and shame. Acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir are available under different brand names in retail pharmacies.
Hospital pharmacies provide OTC and prescription medicines that include drugs for infectious diseases, such as genital herpes. Hospitals usually collaborate to form Group Purchase Organizations (GPOs) and negotiate with manufacturers to get large volumes of antiviral medications, including drugs for genital herpes treatment, at low prices. Usually, public hospitals procure medicines and other products from GPOs. Public hospitals typically place bids according to their needs and requirements based on the number of patients and drug demand. Large hospitals bypass distributors, deal directly with vendors to get maximum discounts on advanced infectious medications and enter long-term contracts to procure other supplies.
By virus type, the global market is segmented into HSV-1 and HSV-2.
The HSV-2 segment is the highest contributor to the market and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 3.82% over the forecast period. HSV-2 infections are fatal and persistent. HSV-2-induced genital herpes is an international issue. An estimated 491 million (13%) people globally, aged between 15 and 49 years, suffered from HSV-2 infections in 2016, according to WHO data published in 2022. Genital herpes infections often have no symptomatic or mild symptoms that are not detected. Usually, about 10%-20% of people infected with HSV-2 report a previous diagnosis of genital herpes. However, clinical studies that closely track people with new infections show that up to one-third of people with new conditions can be symptomatic.
HSV-1 infection is a highly contagious infection. Most HSV-1 infections last a lifetime. Oral herpes (oral or peripheral infections, sometimes called oral or cold sores) and genital herpes (genital herpes or infections in the anal region) are HSV-1 infections. In 2016, an estimated 3.7 billion people under 50, or 67% of the global population, had an HSV-1 infection (oral or genital). HSV-1 may be asymptomatic or present with mild unrecognized symptoms. Genital herpes symptoms include one or more blisters or sores in the genital or anal region. Symptoms may recur after the first episode of genital herpes (which may be severe). However, in contrast to genital herpes caused by HSV-2, genital herpes caused by HSV-1 usually does not recur frequently.
By route of administration, the global market is divided into oral, topical, and injection.
The oral segment owns the highest market share and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 3.75% over the forecast period. The oral route is the most preferred delivery method for antiviral drugs. For slow-release or sustained-release drugs, breaking the tablet or capsule may cause the drug to be released faster than expected. To further reduce the risk of transmission, chronic suppressive doses of genital herpes treatment tablets, such as acyclovir (Zovirax), valacyclovir (Valtrex), and famciclovir (Famvir), may be recommended. These medications significantly lower the frequency of clinical recurrences as well as the rate of asymptomatic shedding.
Parenteral drugs are administered into the body by injection, hypodermic needles, syringes, or indwelling catheters. Parenteral administration is usually faster than topical or enteral administration, and the onset of action takes 15 to 30 seconds after an IV injection, 10 to 20 minutes after an intramuscular injection, and 15 to 30 minutes after a subcutaneous injection. Parenteral administration provides 100% bioavailability and can be used for poorly absorbed drugs or drugs that are ineffective when administered orally. Certain medications, such as antipsychotics, can be given as long-acting intramuscular injections. IV infusions can be used for the continuous administration of drugs or fluids.