Herpes virus type 2 infection and genital symptoms in primary care patients

Douglas T. Fleming, Peter Leone, Dominick Esposito, Cathy K. Heitman, Scott Justus, Stephanie Chin, Kenneth H. Fife

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: We aimed to identify whether genital symptoms were associated with unrecognized herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infection in a primary care population. STUDY DESIGN: Five thousand four hundred fifty-two individuals aged 18 to 59 seeking general care at 36 suburban medical offices in 6 U.S. cities were tested for HSV-2 antibody and asked about 10 types of genital symptoms. In patients with no known history of genital herpes, we assessed whether HSV-2 infection was independently associated with symptoms. RESULTS: HSV-2 infection was associated with increases in reports of "sores, blisters, ulcers, crusts, or small cuts/slits" in men [adjusted odds ratio (OR), 1.79; 95% CI, 1.24-2.58] and with increases in reports of "redness, irritation, or a rash" among women (adjusted OR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.06-2.11). HSV-2 was not significantly associated with other types of genital symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Primary-care physicians should consider unrecognized HSV-2 infection as a potential cause of some common genital symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-421
Number of pages6
JournalSexually Transmitted Diseases
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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