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April 1985

Medical Management of Genital HerpesAdvances in Antiviral Treatment

Arch Dermatol. 1985;121(4):467-470. doi:10.1001/archderm.1985.01660040051010

It is estimated that 5 to 20 million persons in the United States have genital herpes, with 260,000 to 500,000 new cases occurring each year. The need for effective agents for treatment, prevention, and cure is obvious, but the psychosocial morbidity associated with genital herpes infections is less well appreciated. A new era in the treatment of genital herpes infections has begun with the advent of effective antiviral chemotherapy. Physicians have been frustrated by a lack of specific therapy for this trouble some and sometimes devastating skin disease for centuries. In his excellent review and clinical classification of herpes skin infections, Ferdinand Hebra1 in 1866 took the following position in response to the toxic treatments popular in his day: "the fact... herpes terminates within a tolerably short time is sufficient to show that any special treatment of this disease is unnecessary." He goes on to say, "Experience, then, teaches that an expectant treatment is

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