Screening for herpes in asymptomatic people may not be the best course of action after all
William Aryitey |
“The CDC estimates that almost one in six people in the US between the ages of 14 and 49 is infected with genital herpes,” says Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Chair of the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF). It’s this high prevalence that drove the USPSTF recommendation on serologic screening for genital herpes in asymptomatic, pregnant women, adults, and adolescents back in 2005. But is this broad-brush approach a good one? Based on more recent evidence, the Task Force now doesn’t seem to think so, and it’s calling for a rethink (1).
The sexually transmitted infection is caused by subtypes of the herpes simplex virus – HSV-1 and HSV-2 – that can cause blisters, ulcers, aches, swollen glands, and fevers. However, a portion of HSV carriers appears asymptomatic, and the CDC states that most infections are spread by patients who are unaware that they have the virus (2).
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