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Medical News & Perspectives
October 18, 2000

Genital Herpes Vaccine Shows Limited Promise

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JAMA. 2000;284(15):1913-1914. doi:10.1001/jama.284.15.1913-JMN1018-2-1

Toronto—For the first time, a vaccine against genital herpes infection appears to protect people against disease—but with limitations that may have implications for vaccines against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Scientists reported here at the 40th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy that two large clinical trials found that a vaccine against herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2), the strain responsible for most cases of genital herpes, was highly effective compared with a placebo. But the vaccine showed effectiveness only in women, not men, and only in women who had not been previously infected with herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), the strain responsible for most cases of oral herpes.