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J Infect Dis. 2002 Oct 15;186 Suppl 1:S29-33.

Challenges in genital herpes simplex virus management.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Virology Division, University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington 98109, USA.


Development of serologic assays to detect antibodies to herpes simplex virus (HSV) glycoproteins (g)G1 and (g)G2 has allowed accurate definition of the seroprevalence of HSV-2 worldwide. Studies from all continents indicate epidemic proportions of HSV-2 infection. In the United States, 1 in 5 sexually active adults is infected. In Africa and the Caribbean, HSV prevalence is higher. Since the development of the acyclic nucleoside derivatives acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir, treatment of mucocutaneous HSV is a practice of everyday medical care. Yet, despite effective drugs, there is widespread discontent by clients and providers about care of patients with genital herpes. Much of this relates to transmission complexities and the varied natural history of the infection. However, over time, most patients adjust to their disease and the medical and psychosocial complications. Recent studies show condoms reduce transmission, providing an important tool for counseling the patient with newly diagnosed genital herpes.

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