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Acta Derm Venereol. 2005;85(3):248-52.

Acceptance and outcome of herpes simplex virus type 2 antibody testing in patients attending an STD clinic--recognized and unrecognized infections.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, SE-413 45 Göteborg, Sweden.


The majority of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) genital infections are asymptomatic. We wanted to evaluate the acceptance of HSV-2 antibody testing among people attending an STD clinic and to estimate, after counselling, the percentage of recognized and unrecognized HSV-2 infections. First visitors to an STD clinic were invited to participate by answering a questionnaire and taking a blood test for HSV-2 antibodies. HSV-2 seropositive individuals, who were unaware of having genital herpes, were offered an HSV-2 counselling visit and follow-up. Of 1769 patients offered testing, 57% accepted. Of 152 (15%) HSV-2 seropositive individuals, 41% had a self-reported history of genital herpes, approximately 30% had genital symptoms and 30% had no genital symptoms. The percentage of patients reporting genital symptoms was much higher in HSV-2 seropositives (45%) without a history of genital herpes than in an HSV-2 seronegative group (28%). HSV-2 antibody testing should be performed generously in all cases of uncharacteristic genital symptoms.

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