Genital herpes: general practitioners' knowledge and opinions

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Objectives:To evaluate GPs' knowledge about genital herpes, especially recent information and to assess their attitudes towards serotesting.Methods:GPs working in Coventry and the surrounding area were asked to complete an anonymous questionnaire.Results:70% of GPs (183 out of 261) responded to the questionnaire. Overall, 56% of the questions were answered correctly. 73% of participants knew that source partners in most transmission events are unaware of their infection and 77% were aware that patients shed the virus and transmit it even in the absence of clinical signs. As many as 43% did not know that the majority of infected individuals are unaware of their infection and 44% only knew that most transmission occurs during periods of asymptomatic shedding. Only 53% were aware that the proportion of genital herpes caused by HSV-1 is not decreasing. The majority (78%) supported the availability of its serotesting.Conclusions:This study demonstrates the lack of knowledge, among studied GPs, in some areas about genital herpes, especially recent information and indicates the need for more education about the condition. Most GPs in the study support the availability of genital herpes serotesting, although more studies need to be done before the wide availability of this testing.

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