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Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2014 Oct;28(7):1098-110. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2014.07.015. Epub 2014 Aug 4.

Genital herpes.

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Royal Women's Hospital, Australia; Royal Children's Hospital, Australia; Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Australia; Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Melbourne, Australia. Electronic address:
STI unit, Direction des risques biologiques et de la santé au travail, Institut national de santé publique du Quebec, 190, Boulevard Cremazie Est, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2P 1E2; Clinique A rue McGill, Canada; Social and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health, Universite de Montreal, Canada. Electronic address:


Genital herpes is a relatively common infection caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV) type one or two (HSV-1, HSV-2) respectively. It is acquired most commonly via sexual activity. More recently there has been an increase in infections due to HSV-1. Most new cases of genital HSV are not diagnosed due to HSV infections having short-lived signs and symptoms, or in many instances are asymptomatic. Hence many people infected with HSV are unaware that they have it. The risk of transmission to a partner is highest during outbreak periods, when there are visible lesions, although genital HSV can also be transmitted during asymptomatic periods. Use of condoms and antiviral medications assist in preventing transmission. Antiviral agents are effective in controlling clinical episodes, but do not eradicate infection, which remains latent for the life of a patient. Despite the surge in vaccine research, there is unfortunately no readily available preventative or therapeutic vaccine for HSV to date.


HSV in pregnancy; HSV infection; HSV transmission; HSV treatment; genital herpes simplex virus (HSV)

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