September 1990

Daily Stress and Recurrence of Genital Herpes Simplex

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pathology (Drs Rand, Hoon, and Massey), Medicine (Dr Rand), and Clinical Psychology (Dr Johnson), University of Florida, and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Dr Rand), Gainesville.

Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(9):1889-1893. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390200077015

• It is widely believed that emotional stress triggers recurrences of both oral and genital herpes simplex virus. On a daily basis, we studied 64 subjects prospectively for 1 to 3 months; all subjects had at least one culture-proved recurrence of genital herpes simplex virus type 2 before or during the study. All subjects filled out a questionnaire that measured psychological/ emotional stress in six areas: physical health, relations with friends, relations with family, relations with sex partner(s), financial, and vocation/education. These questionnaires were mailed back to us daily. Data were analyzed by General Linear Models analysis of variance to compare stress reported on each of the 6 days before a recurrence with that on days during or after a recurrence, as well as days not temporally related to recurrence. Under these conditions, in which retrospective bias was minimized, there was no significant increase in psychological/emotional stress on any day in any area preceding a recurrence of genital herpes simplex virus.

(Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:1889-1893)