[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
July 11, 1977

Genital Herpes and Type 1 Herpesvirus Hominis

Author Affiliations

From the Infectious Disease Service, New England Medical Center Hospital, and the Department of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston.

JAMA. 1977;238(2):155. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280020059027

FOR MANY years, it has been thought that genital herpetic infections were almost always caused by type 2 herpesvirus. Because of this, many persons have referred to these infections as "type 2 herpes" to avoid the word "genital" during conversation. In 1974, Chang et al1 first described the not infrequent association of type 1 herpesvirus (oral type) and genital disease. It came as a surprise not only to the public but also to venereal disease (VD) specialists. Although carried as a news item by the Associated Press, many VD specialists were reluctant to accept this observation. They continued to hold onto the traditional belief that a special microenvironment in the genital tract exists and that only type 2 virus is well enough adapted to cause infections of the genital tract. Subsequent reports from other parts of the United States continued to disclose that type 2 virus was responsible for