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13 April 2011
Many unaware of their herpes infection
by George Atkinson

A European study of patients attending sexual health clinics found just four-out-of-ten patients with genital herpes actually knew they had the disorder.

For the study, Matilda Berntsson, a researcher at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, investigated the prevalence of genital herpes type 2 among patients attending sexual health clinics. Her investigation included more than 1,000 patients, both male and female.

The investigation revealed that more than one-in-five women and one-in-ten men were infected with genital herpes type 2. Just four-out-of-ten patients with herpes type 2 antibodies actually knew that they were infected. However, a third of those patients who did not know that they were infected reported typical symptoms in the form of recurring genital blisters and sores at a follow-up visit.

"The study reinforces our perception that genital herpes is common and that most people carrying it are unaware that they have it," says Berntsson. "Non-specific recurring genital symptoms could be undiagnosed herpes, which can be detected with a simple test at the doctor's."

Berntsson also suggests that people with non-specific genital symptoms who are worried about genital herpes should see a doctor for an examination. "If the symptoms and/or findings suggest herpes, there are good methods for testing for the disorder," she said. "Pronounced symptoms can be treated with medicines that alleviate discomfort, and a daily preventative treatment can be given for longer periods."

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Source: University of Gothenburg

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