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Patterns of herpes simplex virus shedding over 1 month and the impact of acyclovir and HIV in HSV-2-seropositive women in Tanzania.

Author(s): Tanton C, Weiss HA, LeGoff J, Changalucha J, Clayton TC, Ross DA, Belec L, Hayes RJ, Watson-Jones D

Affiliation(s): Centre for Sexual Health and HIV Research, Research Department of Infection and Population Health, University College London, Mortimer Market Centre, off Capper Street, London WC1E 6JB, UK. c.tanton@ucl.ac.uk

Publication date & source: 2011-08, Sex Transm Infect., 87(5):406-11. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

Publication type: Multicenter Study; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

OBJECTIVES: Few studies have examined the frequency and duration of genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) shedding in sub-Saharan Africa. This study describes HSV shedding patterns among a sample of HSV-2-seropositive women enrolled in a placebo-controlled trial of HSV suppressive therapy (acyclovir 400 mg twice a day) in Tanzania. METHODS: Trial participants were invited to participate in a substudy involving 12 clinic visits over 4 weeks. At each visit, cervical, vaginal and external skin swabs were taken and analysed for HSV DNA using inhouse real-time PCR. RESULTS: HSV shedding was mainly subclinical (90%; 57/63 shedding days in the placebo arm). The most frequent shedding site was the external skin, but HSV DNA was detected from all three sites on 42% (27/63) of shedding days. In HIV-negative women, HSV DNA was detected on 3% (9/275) of days in the acyclovir versus 11% (33/309) in the placebo arm, while in HIV-positive women, detection was on 14% (23/160) versus 19% (30/155) of days, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: HSV shedding was common, varying greatly by individual. Shedding rates were similar to studies in African and non-African settings. Among HIV-negative women, shedding rates were lower in the acyclovir arm; however, acyclovir did not substantially impact on HSV shedding in HIV-positive women.

Page last updated: 2011-12-09

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