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Trends in Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 and 2 Infections Among Patients Diagnosed With Genital Herpes in a Finnish Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic, 1994–2002

Kortekangas-Savolainen, Outi MD, PhD*; Vuorinen, Tytti MD, PhD

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: January 2007 - Volume 34 - Issue 1 - p 37-40
doi: 10.1097/01.olq.0000222725.81045.62

Objective: The objective of this study was to analyze the proportion of herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and -2) in genital infections during a 9-year period (1994–2002) in a Finnish sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic population.

Study Design: We analyzed prospectively the proportion of HSV-1- or -2-positive culture samples from our STD clinic patients with genital herpes during years 1994–2002 and compared the proportions of HSV-1 and HSV-2 findings with the age and gender of the patients.

Results: The proportion of HSV-1 infections increased from 18.7% (39 of 209) in 1994–1996 to 25.9% (52 of 201) in 2000–2002 (P = 0.032). Female patients with genital herpes and laboratory isolation of HSV-1 were 35.9% of the cohort from 1994–1996 and 67.3% of the cohort from 2000–2002. The mean age of male patients with HSV-1 decreased from 29.3 years in 1994–1996 to 24.1 years in 2000–2002 (P = 0.023).

Conclusions: An increase in the proportion of genital infections caused by HSV-1 was found. The increase was mainly the result of the increase in the number of female patients with HSV-1. Male patients acquire genital HSV-1 infection at a younger age than 10 years ago.

A study of clients in a sexually transmitted disease clinic in Finland found that the number of genital herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) infections in females has increased and the age of male patients with HSV-1 has decreased.

From the *Department of Dermatology, University Central Hospital, Turku, Finland; and the †Department of Virology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland

The authors thank Yrsa Forsten, MD, for participating in the collection of specimens.

Correspondence: Outi Kortekangas-Savolainen, MD, PhD, Department of Dermatology, University of Turku, PO Box 52, FIN 20521 Turku, Finland. E-mail:

Received for publication January 13, 2006, and accepted March 17, 2006.

© Copyright 2007 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association