Recurrent Genital Herpes Treatments and Their Impact on Quality of Life
Mathijs H. Brentjens
Kimberly A. Yeung-Yue
Patricia C. Lee
Stephen K. Tyring
Herpes genitalis is one of the most common viral sexually transmitted diseases in the world, with an estimated seroprevalence in the US of greater than 20%. Two viruses of the same family cause herpes genitalis: herpes simplex virus 1 and 2. After the resolution of primary infection, the virus persists in the nerve roots of the sacral plexus, often causing recurrent (though generally less severe) outbreaks. These outbreaks, as well as the infectious potential to the patient Although studies have clearly demonstrated the negative impact of recurrent genital herpes on QOL, an assessment scale specific to herpes was not developed until recently. Earlier studies indicated that patients did not perceive a significant benefit from episodic treatment with antivirals, but studies using the Recurrent Genital Herpes Quality of Life Questionnaire (RGHQoL) have now demonstrated that suppressive antiviral therapy improves quality of life in patients with frequent recurrences of genital herpes. However, not all patients with recurrent genital herpes need suppressive therapy, and proposed factors to consider include frequency of recurrence, physical and psychological distress caused by recurrences, and the potential for transmission to the patient Newer therapeutic modalities, including the topical immune response modifier resiquimod and herpes vaccines, may eventually be shown to further decrease the psychological morbidity of recurrent genital herpes.
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