Author(s): Cowan FM, Johnson AM, Ashley R, Corey L, Mindel A
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Abstract To determine the relationship between antibodies to herpes simplex virus (HSV) types 1 and 2 and diagnosis of orolabial and genital herpes, a cross-sectional survey was done among 869 sexually transmitted disease clinic attendees and 1594 blood donors in London. Among clinic attenders, the prevalence of HSV-1 infection was 59.5\% and that of HSV-2 infection was 22.7\%, and among blood donors the prevalence was 44.6\% and 7.6\%, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of a diagnosis of oral herpes for the presence of HSV-1 antibody was almost identical in the 2 groups (clinic attendees: sensitivity, 33.1\%, and specificity, 91.4\%; blood donors: sensitivity, 32.3\%, and specificity, 94.3\%). A diagnosis of genital herpes was less sensitive for antibody for HSV-2 among donors than among clinic attenders (P < .001); however, the specificity was similar in the 2 populations (clinic attendees: sensitivity, 32.1\%, and specificity, 96.6\%; blood donors: sensitivity, 17.5\%, and specificity, 99.5\%). False-positive clinical histories were also relatively common (clinic attenders, 12\%; donors, 6\%). The sensitivity of the diagnosis of genital herpes would be improved if accurate serologic assays for detection of HSV type-specific antibodies were more widely available.
This article was published in J Infect Dis
and referenced in Epidemiology: Open Access