Herpes Simplex Virus Shedding among Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Negative Men Who Have Sex with Men: Site and Frequency of Shedding

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Abstract

The frequency and anatomic location of subclinical and symptomatic herpes simplex virus (HSV) shedding were evaluated among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative HSV-2-seropositive men who have sex with men (MSM). Eight men attended a research clinic daily for 30 days for a detailed genital examination and anoscopy with colposcopy to detect herpes lesions. HSV cultures were obtained daily from four sites (perianal, urethral, penile shaft, and oral) at home and the research clinic. Signs and symptoms of genital herpes were recorded by the participants and clinician. Three (37.5%) of the men shed HSV. Overall, the 8 men shed HSV on 5.5% of days cultures were obtained and shed subclinically on 2.7% of days. All HSV shedding was perianal or rectal; only 1 symptomatic recurrence, concurrent with an external perianal lesion, was detected by anoscopy. Subclinical HSV shedding was frequent among HIV-negative MSM, and anoscopy with colposcopy did not increase the detection rate of rectal HSV lesions or shedding.

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