Review

Herpes simplex virus 1 and 2: a therapeutic approach

DOI: 10.1080/10158782.2010.11441392
Author(s): Helen van der PlasDivision of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine, Department of Medicine,, Diana HardieDivision of Virology, National Health Laboratory Service, Groote Schuur Hospital, University of Cape Town,

Abstract

Herpes simplex viruses (HSVs) are ubiquitous in humans and infection with HSV produces a diverse spectrum of disease. The vast majority of HSV infections in adults are easily recognised and relatively benign in their clinical manifestation but occasionally life-threatening infections involving viscera and the central nervous system can occur. Genital HSV-2 is the most common sexually transmitted infection worldwide and increases the risk of HIV infection. Suppressive antiherpes therapy, despite being effective in reducing genital ulcer recurrence, does not reduce the risk of HIV transmission. Molecular diagnostic tools have revolutionised our ability to diagnose infections involving the central nervous system and disseminated visceral disease accurately and, with the availability of relatively safe and effective antiviral therapy, potentially fatal outcomes can be averted if treatment is instituted early.

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