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Genital Herpes Can Be Spread When Lesions Aren't Present: Study
Date:4/12/2011

tive for the virus. Each person took daily genital swabs for at least 30 days. More than 28,000 swabs were collected and analyzed.

The virus was detected on 20 percent of days in 410 people who had symptoms, compared with 10 percent of days in those who had no obvious symptoms.

But both groups shed about the same amount of virus on the days they were shedding.

"The main difference was the time," Johnston explained.

The findings argue for use of preventive measures as often as possible. Those include wearing a condom, taking the antiviral medication Valtrex (valacyclovir) every day and telling your partner about the infection.

"All of those three strategies have been shown to reduce transmission by 30 to 50 percent," Johnston said. "Thinking out all of those strategies and utilizing those should be considered."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on genital herpes.

SOURCES: Fred Wyand, spokesman, American Social Health Association, Research Triangle Park, N.C.; Christine Johnston, M.D., acting assistant professor, medicine, University of Washington, Seattle; April 13, 2011, Journal of the American Medical Association


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