Sexually Transmitted Diseases

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases:
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Natural History of Genital Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Infection

ENGELBERG, REBECCA BA*; CARRELL, DAVID PhD*; KRANTZ, ELIZABETH MS*; COREY, LAWRENCE MD*†§; WALD, ANNA MD, MPH*†‡

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Abstract

Background: Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) has been increasingly reported as a cause of genital herpes, yet there have been few studies on the long-term natural history of this infection.

Goal: The goal was to examine the clinical course of genital HSV-1 infection.

Study Design: This was a cohort study of patients presenting with culture-proven primary genital HSV-1 infection.

Results: The median follow-up of the 77 patients was 736 days. The overall rate of recurrences was 1.3/year in the first year of infection, decreasing to 0.7/year in the second year. In the first year of infection, 43% of study patients did not have a recurrence. In the second year of infection, 67% of study patients did not have a recurrence.

Conclusion: Genital HSV-1 recurs infrequently in most patients, and the rate decreases further in the subsequent years of infection. Because the prognoses of genital HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections differ, determination of the viral type is important for patient counseling.

© Copyright 2003 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association

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