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April 4, 1986

Oral Acyclovir for Treatment and Suppression of Genital Herpes Simplex Virus InfectionA Review

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Center for Prevention Services, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta.

JAMA. 1986;255(13):1747-1749. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370130103032

ACYCLOVIR is the only antiviral agent shown to be effective for the treatment of genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection. Effective therapy for this disease, however, has a different meaning from that for other sexually transmitted diseases. When we speak of effective therapy for gonorrhea, we mean that therapy cures the disease. The presence of gonorrhea in a patient is an indication for treatment. A clinician cannot ethically choose not to treat a patient with gonorrhea. Likewise, the patient with gonorrhea cannot refuse treatment. Public health regulations usually require that patients with gonorrhea be treated, not only to prevent further damage in the patient but to prevent transmission of disease. In contrast, the presence of genital herpes infection is not necessarily an indication for acyclovir treatment. Public health regulations do not require either the clinician to prescribe or the patient with genital herpes to accept therapy. We must evaluate the