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Int J STD AIDS. 2006 Jan;17(1):44-9.

Virological, serological and epidemiological study of 255 consecutive cases of genital herpes in a sexually transmitted disease clinic of Paris (France): a prospective study.

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STD Clinic, Hôpital Saint-Louis, 42 Rue Bichat, 75475 Paris Cédex 10, France.


Some studies (mostly retrospective) have pointed to an increasing frequency (up to 60%) of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) in genital herpes (GH), but they were biased towards severe or atypical cases. We wished to evaluate the frequency of HSV-1 in patients attending our clinic for both first and recurrent episodes of GH. All patients (men and women) with genital lesions compatible with GH were included in a prospective study between May 1999 and April 2002. For all patients a standardized questionnaire, clinical examination, MRC5 culture (Dade Behring), polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-herpes consensus (Argène Biosoft) in case of negative culture and type-specific herpes serology HSV-1 and HSV-2 (Elisa Eurobio) were obtained. Predictive factors associated with HSV-1 and HSV-2 GH were studied by uni- and multivariable analyses. In all, 255 patients had a positive culture (n = 216) or PCR (n = 39). A total of 248 patients had typable herpes (148 men and 100 women). Median age was 33 (27-43); 20% had anal herpes; 48% had clinically recurrent lesions; 21% were HIV +; 20% of men were homosexual; 77% practised oral sex. In all, 36 were HSV-1 (14.5%): more in women, 25/100 (25%), than in men, 11/148 (7.5%) (odds ratio [OR]: 4 [1.8-9.1], P = 0.008). HSV-1 accounted for 23% of cases of first clinical episodes (women: 31.5%; men: 14.7%) (P = 0.02) and 6% of clinically recurrent episodes (women: 15%; men: 1.2%) (OR: 3.8 [1.6-9.1], P = 0.0033). Serological study was done in 239: primary infection was disclosed in 33 (HSV-1: 61%), HSV-2 non-primary first episode in 22 and recurrence in 184 (HSV-1: 8%). In all, 37% of recurrent episodes presented as a first clinical episode. HSV-1 was linked in men with homosexuality (P<0.01) and anilingus (P<0.01), in women with younger age (P<0.01), more sexual intercourses (P<0.0001) and more oral sex (P<0.001). Although HSV-1 is frequent in first clinical (23%) and primary (61%) episodes of GH, recurrent GH remains mostly due to HSV-2 (94%).

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