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J Infect Dis. 2004 Sep 15;190(6):1059-67. Epub 2004 Aug 5.

Incidence of herpes simplex virus type 2 infection in 5 sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics and the effect of HIV/STD risk-reduction counseling.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado, USA.


The seroincidence of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infection was determined among 1766 patients attending sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics and enrolled in a randomized, controlled trial of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/STD risk-reduction counseling (RRC). Arm 1 received enhanced RRC (4 sessions); arm 2, brief RRC (2 sessions); and arm 3, the control arm, brief informational messages. The overall incidence rate was 11.7 cases/100 person-years (py). Independent predictors of incidence of HSV-2 infection included female sex; black race; residence in Newark, New Jersey; <50% condom use with an occasional partner; and, in females, incident trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis. Only 10.8% of new HSV-2 infections were diagnosed clinically. Incidence rates were 12.9 cases/100 py in the control arm, 11.8 cases/100 py in arm 2, and 10.3 cases/100 py in arm 1 (hazard ratio, 0.8 [95% confidence interval, 0.6-1.1], vs. controls). The possible benefit of RRC in preventing acquisition of HSV-2 infection offers encouragement that interventions more specifically tailored to genital herpes may be useful and should be an important focus of future studies.

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