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J Infect Dis. 2002 Oct 15;186 Suppl 1:S47-56.

Progress in meeting today's demands in genital herpes: an overview of current management.

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Department of Genito-Urinary Medicine, Royal South Hampshire Hospital, Southampton, United Kingdom.


Treatment of genital herpes requires accurate diagnosis, patient support, and effective treatment. Diagnosis is usually straightforward for classic presentations characterized by vesicular lesions but can be challenging for atypical presentations, which are more common. Diagnosis of asymptomatic infection requires access to molecular technology or type-specific serologic assays. Misconceptions about herpes simplex infection are common and patient education is essential. Patient concerns extend beyond disease frequency and severity-the psychological impact should not be underestimated. Antiviral therapy is relevant at all stages of infection. Acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir are effective and well tolerated for genital herpes treatment. Continuous suppressive therapy controls all symptoms of recurrent disease and helps to relieve disease complications. The prodrugs valacyclovir and famciclovir offer easier, less-frequent dosing than required for acyclovir. Valacyclovir achieves effective suppression when taken once a day. Interventions to prevent genital herpes transmission and to control the global problem are urgently required.

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