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Treatment of first episode genital HSV with oral acyclovir: long term follow-up of recurrences. A preliminary report.


Systemic acyclovir (ACV) treatment has been shown to have significant effects on shortening the clinical course of first episode genital HSV infections, decreasing the quantity of HSV antibody in convalescent phase serum, without affecting the incidence of recurrences in 6 months of follow-up. In order to assess long term recurrence patterns, we prospectively studied subjects enrolled in a randomized double blind trial of oral ACV for first episode genital HSV. Sixty-three of sixty-eight subjects were followed monthly for recurrences for a mean of 36 months with 90% of subjects completing two years. There was no difference in the incidence of recurrence (90%) in (29) placebo vs (37) ACV treated HSV-2 infected subjects. Recurrences rates were similar between ACV and placebo treated subjects with nonprimary HSV-2 infection followed 2 years. The majority of these subjects were found to have HSV-2 antibody in their acute sera suggesting prior asymptomatic acquisition of HSV-2 infection and therefore established ganglionic latency at the time of first clinical disease. In subjects with true primary HSV-2 infection, however, mean recurrence rates were significantly lower in ACV treated subjects after 6 months, 0.87 ACV vs 3 placebo per 6 month period (p less than 0.01). The percentage of subjects experiencing recurrences after 1 year was also reduced by ACV treatment (70% placebo subjects vs 12.5% ACV subjects).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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