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Most people diagnosed with a first episode of genital herpes can expect to have four to five outbreaks (called symptomatic recurrences) within a year. Measures for preventing genital herpes are the same as those for preventing other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
The best way to prevent infection is to abstain from sexual activity or to limit sexual contact to only one person who is infection-free. Occasionally, oral-genital contact can transmit oral herpes to the genitals (and vice versa). Also, getting tested for herpes-simplex viruses is important if the individual is sexually active outside of a monogamous relationship. Herpes infection or Herpes simplex is a disease which is viral caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 or HSV-1 and type 2 or HSV-2. These are other types of herpes which are all caused by herpes simplex virus: Herpes gladiatorum, herpes whitlow, ocular herpes or keratitis, encephalitis cerebral herpes infection, neonatal herpes, Mollaret’s meningitis. Herpes simplex virus type 1 causes face, eye, mouth, throat, and central nervous system infections.
Through clinical examinations, orofacial herpes are identified to persons who have no history with such lesions or contact with persons having HSV type-1 infection. Genital herpes in persons infected with HSV type-2 virus are more difficult to diagnose because there are other conditions that resemble genital herpes such as lichen planus, fungal infection, urethritis and atopic dermatitis.
Herpes simplex virus can’t be eradicated in the body and there is still no discovered method for it.
Genital herpes is a disease caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), of which there are two types. HSV-2 cannot survive long on a non-living surface, so there is no real risk of getting it from a toilet seat or hot tub, for example. Les traitements homeopathiques sont souvent appliques lors d’un traitement de fond du bouton de fievre, mais ils servent egalement a completer l’action des patch et des cremes antivirales.
Expression of concern regarding paper by Park et al, published on 25 June 2015: “Epidemiological investigation of MERS-CoV spread in a single hospital in South Korea, May to June 2015”, Euro Surveill. It has been brought to our attention that some of the authors may not have been informed about the content of the above paper. Citation style for this article: Domeika M, Bashmakova M, Savicheva A, Kolomiec N, Sokolovskiy E, Hallen A, Unemo M, Ballard RC, Eastern European Network for Sexual and Reproductive Health (EE SRH Network). These guidelines aim to provide comprehensive information about sexually transmitted herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection and its laboratory diagnosis in eastern European countries. During the past 20 years, genital herpes has emerged as one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The clinical differentiation of genital HSV infection from other infectious and non-infectious aetiologies of genital ulceration is difficult and laboratory confirmation of the infection should always be sought [5,9]. The guidelines presented here represent the first attempt to introduce an evidence-based approach to the laboratory diagnosis of genital herpes infections in eastern Europe. Laboratory confirmation of the clinical diagnosis is necessary for estimating the potential infectivity during episodes of lesions, identifying persons at risk of transmitting infection subclinically, selecting women at future risk of transmitting the infection to the neonate and confirming the clinical diagnosis in those for whom antiviral therapy for HIV infection should be prescribed [8]. Methods used for the diagnosis of HSV could be divided into direct detection of virus in material from lesions and serological diagnosis. The recommended sampling sites and type of sample and methods to be used for the diagnosis of genital herpes infection are presented in Table 4. The recommendations for sample transportation for testing using microscopy, culture and NAATs are presented in Table 5.
The recommended sites and methods to be used for the diagnosis of genital herpes infection are presented in Table 6. Microscopic examination of lesion materials using Romanovsky staining is used by a number of laboratories in Eastern Europe [17].
Viral antigen from swab specimens can be detected using either direct immunofluorescence (DIF) or enzyme immunoassay (EIA). DIF could be classified as a rapid diagnostic test allowing type differentiation of genital herpes viruses [19,20]. The sensitivity of commercially available EIAs, when compared with that of viral isolation, is greater than or equal to 95% and with specificities ranging from 62% to 100% for symptomatic patients [22-27].
Virus isolation in cell culture has been the cornerstone of HSV diagnosis over the past two decades in laboratories of western Europe [28,29] and the United States [30]. Virus isolation in tissue culture roller tubes is slow and labour intensive, but has the advantage of demonstrating active infection within a clinical lesion and also allows virus typing and antiviral sensitivity testing [32]. Typing of HSV using cell culture can be performed directly on infected cell cultures using fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)- or immunoperoxidase-labelled type-specific monoclonal antibodies by DIF or by testing the cell supernatant by nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs), with specifically designed primers. HSV detection using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has been shown to be the test of choice in patients with genital herpes ulcers. As in western Europe and the United States, there are no comprehensively validated and approved commercial NAATs available for detection of HSV in many eastern European countries. In each DNA extraction and subsequent analysis, an internal positive control – allowing detection of amplification-inhibited samples and controlling the quality of sample preparation – and a negative control are necessary.
Certified and registered reference panels comprising coded control specimens should ideally be used for intra- and inter-laboratory quality control. Serological tests detect antibodies to HSV in blood, which are indicative of ongoing latent infection. General criteria for the validation of diagnostic tests have been published by the TDR diagnostics evaluation expert panel (TDR is a Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, sponsored by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and WHO [44]. Older, classical tests can display cross-reactivity between HSV-1 and HSV-2 and even with varicella-zoster virus. Where viral culture facilities exist, they should be maintained in order to detect the causative virus directly from skin and mucous membrane lesions.
These guidelines were written on behalf of the STI Diagnostic Group of the EE SRH Network, which is supported by grants from the East Europe Committee of the Swedish Health Care Community, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
Domeika M, Savicheva A, Sokolovskiy E, Ballard R, Unemo M; Eastern European Network for Sexual and Reproductive Health (EE SRH Network). Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by authors contributing to Eurosurveillance do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) or the editorial team or the institutions with which the authors are affiliated.
While some have an outbreak within the first two weeks of contracting the virus, most  never have outbreaks or have very mild symptoms that can go unnoticed.
If the individual or their partner is infected with HSV type 2, steps can be taken to manage the transmission of  the herpes virus.
Individuals should use, or have their partner use, a latex condom during each sexual contact, limit the number of sex partners, avoid any contact with a partner who has sores until the sores are completely healed, or use a male or female condom during anal, oral, or vaginal sex (however, genital herpes transmission can still occur if the condom does not cover the sores), avoid having sex just before or during an outbreak since the risk for transmission is highest at that time, and ask the sexual partner if they have ever had a herpes outbreak or been exposed to the herpes virus.
Individuals with active herpes lesions on or around their mouths or on their genitals should only engage in oral sex if they use a condom or place a small piece of latex, called a dental dam, over the vagina or anus. Safety and effectiveness of an L-lysine, zinc, and herbal-based product on the treatment of facial and circumoral herpes. Experimental study of the effect of Astragalus membranaceus against herpes simplex virus type 1.
Persons with weak and suppressed immune system like in newborns, AIDS, and transplant patients are more prone to acquiring this infection. The distribution and appearance of sores appear as round, multiple, superficial oral ulcers with acute gingivitis. Laboratory tests are done to diagnose genital herpes which include virus culture, virus detection through direct fluorescent antibody studies, polymerase chain reaction to identify DNA virus, and skin biopsy. However, there are antiviral medications that can lessen the outbreak severity, duration and frequency of infection.
Acyclovir is the first discovered drug for herpes simplex virus and is now available in generic forms.


When it's active, it travels to the surface of the infected area (skin or mucous membrane) and makes copies of itself.
One reason may be that the virus can infect a woman's genitals more easily than it can a man's.
HSV-1 can also spread from the mouth to the genitals during oral sex (fellatio, cunnilingus, analingus).
But just as HSV-1 can infect the genitals and cause genital herpes, HSV-2 can pass from one person's genitals to another person's mouth, resulting in oral herpes. They are primarily intended for professionals testing specimens from patients at a sexual healthcare clinic but may also be helpful for community-based screening programmes. However, data on morbidity due to genital herpes infections in eastern European countries is scarce and their reliability doubtful owing to the lack of validation studies for the diagnostic tests used. In general, infections caused by HSV-1 manifest above the neck and are acquired as a result of close contact with infected persons, usually in childhood.
The recurrences arise with different frequency: from once every few years to several times per month.
Neonatal herpes (including neonatal encephalitis) and increased risk for acquiring and shedding human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are the most serious consequences of genital herpes infection [8,9].
Accordingly, exclusive reliance on clinical diagnosis could lead both to false positive and false negative diagnosis of the condition [6,9]. It is recognised that national adjustments to these guidelines may be needed in some eastern European countries to meet local laws and health strategies and according to the availability of kits and reagents.
Both virological detection and type-specific serological tests for HSV should be available in clinical settings that provide care for patients with STIs or those at risk for STIs. This method, however, as well as cytological examination using Tzanckand Papanicolaou smears, have been found to have low sensitivity and specificity, and therefore should not be relied upon for diagnosis [5,9,18]. Commercial diagnostic tests produced in eastern European countries for the detection of herpes-specific virus antigen have not been validated against any international standard test; therefore the data presented below reflect characteristics of tests produced in western countries.
It can be valuable when testing high-prevalence populations [21], but when testing asymptomatic patients, the sensitivity may drop to less than 50% when compared with culture [19,21]. The sensitivity of antigen capture EIAs may be higher than that of virus culture for typical presentations, but lower for cervical and urethral swabs [22-24,27].
Although HSV can be isolated from over 90% of vesicular or pustular lesions, the isolation rate from ulcerative lesions is only 70% and falls to 27% at the crusting stage [4].
More rapid culture of HSV can be achieved by using shell vials [33] or multiwell plates [34] and centrifuging the specimen onto cell monolayers on coverslips. The detection rates of the PCR assays were shown to be 11–71% superior to virus culture [30,31,37-39]. However, some NAATs for HSV detection have been developed and are available in eastern Europe, but have not been validated against their internationally acknowledged analogues.
Both type- and non-type-specific antibodies to HSV develop during the first several weeks after infection and persist indefinitely.
During the past 20 years, a number of type-specific tests have been developed, the sensitivity and specificity of which have been evaluated to be approximately 97% and 98%, respectively [46]. Where culture is not available, consideration should be given to the introduction of a NAAT for HSV.
An estimate of the global prevalence and incidence of herpes simplex virus type 2 infection. Genital herpes simplex virus infections: clinical manifestations, course, and complications.
Genital herpes simplex virus infections: current concepts in diagnosis, therapy, and prevention.
Reactivation of genital herpes simplex virus type 2 infection in asymptomatic seropositive persons.
Risk of human immunodeficiency virus infection in herpes simplex virus type 2-seropositive persons: a meta-analysis. Guidelines for laboratory diagnosis of Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections in Eastern European countries--results of an international collaboration. Quality enhancements and quality assurance of laboratory diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections in Eastern Europe. Guidelines for the laboratory diagnosis of Chlamydia trachomatis infections in East European countries.
Comparison of viral isolation, direct immunofluorescence, and indirect immunoperoxidase techniques for detection of genital herpes simplex virus infection. Antibody and interferon act synergistically to inhibit enterovirus, adenovirus, and herpes simplex virus infection. Diagnosis of herpes simplex virus by direct immunofluorescence and viral isolation from samples of external genital lesions in a high-prevalence population.
Evaluation of a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for detection of herpes simplex virus antigen. A comparison of PCR with virus isolation and direct antigen detection for diagnosis and typing of genital herpes. Comparison of Light-Cycler PCR, enzyme immunoassay, and tissue culture for detection of herpes simplex virus.
Detection and subtyping of Herpes simplex virus in clinical samples by LightCycler PCR, enzyme immunoassay and cell culture. Rapid detection, culture-amplification and typing of herpes simplex viruses by enzyme immunoassay in clinical samples. Comparison of two enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for detection of herpes simplex virus antigen. Herpes simplex virus detection from genital lesions: a comparative study using antigen detection (HerpChek) and culture. British Co-operative Clinical Group national survey on diagnostic issues surrounding genital herpes. Using the evidence base on genital herpes: optimising the use of diagnostic tests and information provision. Rapid detection of herpes simplex virus in clinical specimens by centrifugation and immunoperoxidase staining. Herpes simplex virus detection by macroscopic reading after overnight incubation and immunoperoxidase staining. Polymerase chain reaction for diagnosis of genital herpes in a genitourinary medicine clinic. Increasing proportion of herpes simplex virus type 1 as a cause of genital herpes infection in college students. Neither ECDC nor any person acting on behalf of ECDC is responsible for the use that might be made of the information in this journal. Contraction of the genital herpes virus can still occur even if your partner does not have visible sores or lesions. There is no cure for this recurrent (returning) infection, which may cause embarrassment and emotional distress. After a primary infection, the nerves are entered by the virus at the primary infection site, migrate to the neuron’s cell body and become hidden in the ganglion. Sometimes, orofacial herpes lesions are mistaken as impetigo, a bacterial infection, if lesions are not seen inside the mouth.
These laboratory tests are specific when it comes to diagnosing but because of high cost, it constrains the infected persons from submitting themselves to test. This is called "shedding" because these new viruses can, at this time, rub off on another person. Genital herpes is more common among blacks than it is among whites, and it becomes more common as people age.


The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated a prevalence of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infection of 29 million cases in men and 12.3 million cases in women in eastern Europe and central Asia in 2003 [1]. In contrast, the lesions of infections caused by HSV-2 are usually located below the waist and are usually acquired as a result of sexual contact with infected persons later in life. The main clinical symptoms, manifestations and complications of genital herpes infections are summarized in Table 2. HSV is the most common cause of sexually acquired genital ulceration, however, the role of causative agents of other STIs, such as Treponema pallidum and Haemophilus ducreyi should not be forgotten. They are a consensus document of the Eastern European Sexual and Reproductive Health (EE SRH) Network [11,12] and comprise one element of a series of guidelines aimed at optimising, standardising and providing guidance on quality assurance of laboratory testing for reproductive tract infections [13-16]. The disadvantages of DIF are that it is time consuming, labour intensive and, compared to NAATs, has a suboptimal sensitivity.
Delayed transport of samples to the laboratory and lack of refrigeration during transportation substantially affect the outcome of the testing [31]. Commonly used cells include primary human fibroblasts and cell lines such as MRC-5, Vero cells, baby hamster kidney and rabbit kidney cells [35,36].
Furthermore, compared with traditional PCR, real-time PCR allows detection and typing of HSV in a single reaction tube, is faster (takes approximately two hours to perform), allows simplified conditions of performance and lowers the risk of cross-contamination [37]. These act as indicators of sensitivity, specificity and reproducibility, which are independent of the test systems used. However, directly after infection there is a ‘window’ in which testing for antibodies will give a negative result. However, the minimum requirements for the validation of a new or modified test have also been published [45].
Although the benefits of the serological assays (such as type-specific EISAs) include the possibility of automation and therefore simultaneous processing of a large number of samples at relatively low cost, they have a number of disadvantages that considerably limit their use in the diagnosis of genital herpes.
If NAATs are not available, antigen detection, namely DIF or EIA, could be employed, if high performance of those tests can be assured.
In: International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems, 10th revision, version for 2007. Part 2: culture, non-culture methods, determination of antibiotic resistance, and quality assurance.
MSSVD Special Interest Group on Genital Herpes and the British Co-operative Clinical Group. As a result, antibodies are produced by the body for the particular herpes simplex virus type to prevent further infection to a different site. In the past, HSV-1 was not known to cause genital herpes, but that is changing, especially among people who begin having sex at a young age. Then the virus travels back down the nerve to a ganglion (mass of nerve tissue), usually at the base of the spine, where it lies dormant for a while.
The international classification of diseases caused by herpes virus (anogenital) [2] is presented in Table 1.
Unfortunately, the differentiation of HSV-1 from HSV-2 based on anatomical site of infection is not absolute, since genital herpes may frequently be caused by HSV-1 as a result of oro-genital sexual practices and vice versa.
This episode resolves spontaneously, but recurrences may occur as a result of reactivation of the infection that has become latent but persists in the cervical ganglia. Both oral and genital herpes are manifested by acute recurrences followed by varying periods of latency, when the virus remains in a non-multiplying episomal form in the nuclei of the neurons in the ganglia.
They are primarily intended for professionals testing specimens from patients at sexual healthcare clinics but may also be helpful for community-based screening programmes.
The characteristic cytopathic effect of HSV in tissue culture generally appears within 24–72 hours, but may take up to five days. Use of NAATs for diagnosis of HSV also allows less strict sample transportation conditions, compared with those required for diagnosis by culture. Serodiagnosis is useful for documenting newly acquired infections and for diagnosis in persons who present without lesions or with atypical lesions. In HSV type-1 infected persons, additional infection is infected through seroconversion or development of specific antibodies in the blood serum.
Similarly, if an individual has not been exposed to HSV-1 in childhood, he or she may develop severe genital lesions following sexual exposure to HSV-2 later in life. Classically, each episode or recurrence is characterised by a patch of redness at the site of the recurrence, followed by a localised papular then vesicular rash. Testing for HSV type-specific antibodies can also be used to diagnose HSV-2 infection in asymptomatic individuals [31,40], and other persons with undiagnosed HSV-2 infection.
Unfortunately, serological tests alone cannot inform the aetiology of a presenting genital lesion with any degree of certainty. Type-specific serology should be used for detecting asymptomatic individuals, testing pregnant women at risk of acquiring HSV infection close to delivery, men who have sex with men, and people who are HIV positive.
Except where otherwise stated, all manuscripts published after 1 January 2016 will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence.
If a person is infected with HSV type-2, the symptoms are minimal because of the help of seroconversion. However, because HSV-2 is almost always associated with genital disease, whereas HSV-1 is associated with both oro-pharyngeal and genital disease, there is often considerable stigma associated with HSV-2 infection.
As with HSV-1 infections, primary HSV-2 infections resolve spontaneously but recurrences are likely to occur as a result of reactivation of latent infection that has been established in the sacral ganglia. The vesicles contain a clear fluid that contains many thousands of infectious viral particles. Non-infectious causes of genital ulceration, such as inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn disease), mucosal ulcerations associated with Behcet syndrome or fixed drug eruption, may also be confused with genital herpes [9].
You are free to share and adapt the material, but you must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the licence, and indicate if changes were made. Acquisition of HSV-1 usually results in lesions of the oro-pharynx and around the mouth and on the lips and chin. These vesicles burst, forming shallow ulcers or erosions that eventually crust and heal spontaneously without leaving scars. The types of persons who are recommended to be tested for genital herpes infections are listed in Table 3.
Up to 50% of first-episode cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-1 [41], but recurrences and subclinical viral shedding are much less frequent for genital HSV-1 infection than genital HSV-2 infection [42,43]. It is recommended that any non-validated diagnostic tests should be validated against a recommended, approved gold standard test. These episodes usually last less than 10 days, but may be prolonged as a result of secondary bacterial infection or immunosuppression. Sexual transmission of HSV most often produces infection of the genital mucosa, genital skin (penile and labial) and the perigenital region.
In most cases of genital herpes (80–90%) the disease progresses subclinically, but may become symptomatic at any time [5,6]. Virus from genital secretions can also infect other areas, including the eyes and oro-pharynx and rectal mucosa [3,4]. The incubation period of both HSV-1 and HSV-2 is usually from two to 10 days (up to four weeks).



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