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November 1999

Relation Between Herpes Simplex Viruses and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infections

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Dermatology, Microbiology and Immunology, and Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston.

Arch Dermatol. 1999;135(11):1393-1397. doi:10.1001/archderm.135.11.1393

The rates of herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection are rising, the highest prevalence being in the group infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). We review the relation between these 2 infections. The presence of genital ulcers increases the transmission of HIV, and the presence of HIV adversely affects the natural history of HSV infection. The detection and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases such as genital herpes actually decrease the rates of HIV infection in groups studied. The treatment of HSV in persons with HIV is challenging because the incidence of immunosuppression increases. Acyclovir resistance is more common in this group, but acyclovir use may prolong survival in some HIV-seropositive patients. Further studies are needed to determine whether persons with HIV disease should routinely be given HSV-specific therapy.

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