Recent trial results demonstrate that the transmission probability of HSV-2 in monogamous couples is nearly halved by the use of valacyclovir as suppressive therapy.
The goal of this study is to understand the potential impact of suppressive valacyclovir therapy on the transmission of HSV-2 within a population.
A mathematical model of HSV-2 epidemiology was developed which included suppressive therapy with the efficacy observed in the clinical trial. The model represented HSV-2 spread in an age and sexual activity stratified population where rates of viral shedding declined based on time since infection. The model tested the impact of a range of suppression coverage levels.
Suppressive therapy reduces the population incidence of HSV-2. With coverage rates of 3.2%, the incidence of HSV-2 would be reduced by between 1.8% and 2.8%. Higher coverage rates were estimated to reduce the incidence of new cases up to 13%. Starting suppression closer to the time of infection also reduces the incidence of new cases.
The impact of suppressive therapy on the HSV-2 epidemic is modest at current coverage levels but could be substantially increased with higher rates of diagnosis and a focus on coverage soon after infection.
An epidemiologic model of HSV-2 transmission showed that the impact of suppressive therapy on the HSV-2 epidemic could be substantially increased with higher rates of diagnosis and a focus on coverage soon after infection.
From the *Division of Epidemiology, Public Health and Primary Care, Imperial College London, United Kingdom; and †GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
The authors thank Josephine Mauskopf for her assistance in preparing the manuscript.
This study was supported by a grant from GlaxoSmithKline.
Correspondence: John R. Williams, DPhil, Division of Epidemiology, Public Health and Primary Care, Imperial College London, St. Mary’s Campus, Norfolk Place, W2 1PG, London, United Kingdom. E-mail: email@example.com.
Received for publication December 6, 2005, and accepted November 28, 2006.