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We conducted this study to examine the incidence, prevalence, and risk factors for herpes simplex virus (HSV) 1 and HSV 2 infection in a cohort of young women who were closely followed for acquisition of sexually transmitted infections.Women between the ages of 14 and 18 years had blood and genital specimens obtained quarterly to test for incident sexually transmitted infections. Subjects also had 2 12-week periods each year when they kept a detailed behavioral diary and performed weekly vaginal swabs. Serum specimens were tested for HSV 1 and HSV 2 antibody, and genital specimens were tested for HSV DNA by PCR.A total of 100 subjects enrolled and had at least 2 sera that could be analyzed for seroconversion. The mean age of the subjects was 15.8 years at entry. The HSV 1 and HSV 2 seroprevalence at entry was 59.6% and 13.5%, respectively. During the study, 4 subjects acquired HSV 1 antibody and 7 acquired HSV 2 antibody, but there were no cases of symptomatic HSV infection identified. The annualized incidence among susceptible individuals was 8.9% for HSV 1 and 7.4% for HSV 2. Three of the 7 HSV 2 seroconverters had HSV 2 DNA detected in vaginal swabs. Age, duration of sexual activity, and the presence of other sexually transmitted infections were predictors of HSV 2 antibody positivity.Acquisition of HSV 1 and HSV 2 is relatively common in adolescent women, although symptomatic infection is uncommon. HSV 2 is shed in the genital tract despite the lack of symptoms.