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Epidemiology of Genital Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 and 2 Infections in Southwestern Finland During a 10-Year Period (2003–2012)

Kortekangas-Savolainen, Outi MD, PhD*; Orhanen, Elina MD*†; Puodinketo, Teemu MD; Vuorinen, Tytti MD, PhD

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: April 2014 - Volume 41 - Issue 4 - p 268–271
doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000101
Original Study

Background The objective of this study was to analyze the proportion of herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) in genital infections during a 10-year period (2003–2012) among outpatients of a clinic of sexually transmitted disease in Southwestern Finland.

Methods We analyzed prospectively the proportion of HSV-1– or HSV-2–positive culture samples from our sexually transmitted disease clinic outpatients with genital herpes infection during the years 2003 to 2012 and compared the proportions of positive HSV-1 and HSV-2 findings with the age and sex of the patients.

Results Herpes simplex virus type 2 was typed in 66.4% (557/839) and HSV-1 in 33.6% (282/839) of the patients during the entire study period. The mean age of male patients (26.3 years) with a laboratory-confirmed HSV-1 infection was significantly lower than that in male patients with an HSV-2 infection in 2003 to 2007 (26.3 vs. 32.9 years), with P < 0.0001, and (28.6 vs. 34.0) P < 0.0019 in 2008 to 2012, respectively. More female than male patients had HSV-1 infection; in the first study period (2003–2007), 58% were female, and in 2008 to 2012, it was again 63.6%. There was no significant difference between the age of female patients with HSV-1 and those with HSV-2.

Conclusions Herpes simplex virus type 2 was still the most common causative agent of genital herpes in Southwestern Finland, but the proportion of HSV-1 was increasingly high. The age difference between male patients with HSV-1 and HSV-2 narrowed during the years studied.

Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) was the most common causative agent of genital herpes infections in Southwestern Finland during the years 2003 to 2012, but the number of HSV-1 infections still remained high. Most patients with HSV-1 infection were female.

From the Departments of *Dermatovenereology and †Virology, University of Turku, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland

The authors declare neither conflicts of interest nor source of funding.

Correspondence: Outi Kortekangas-Savolainen, MD, PhD, Department of Dermatology and Venereology, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital, PO Box 52, FI-20520 Turku, Finland. E-mail:

Received for publication November 3, 2013, and accepted December 30, 2013.

© Copyright 2014 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association