Affecting almost half the worldwide population, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) may pose a serious threat to immunocompromised patients and pregnant women.1
Transmission of HSV most often occurs without symptoms.1 HSV-1 is spread through oral-to-oral contact and primarily causes cold sores, while HSV-2 is transmitted almost entirely through sexual contact, causing genital herpes2 (symptoms may include fever, itching, burning, and trouble urinating). However, as the majority of these infections are asymptomatic or unrecognized—up to 90% of patients with genital herpes may be undiagnosed—patient management remains a challenge.3
This is especially true for vulnerable patient groups. Transplant recipients and patients with a compromised immune system, for example, are more susceptible to severe manifestations of HSV infection and may be slower to respond to therapy.4 Additionally, pregnant women risk transmitting the virus to the fetus or child which can cause significant disease and even death in infants.5
Adult patients with untreated infections may experience numerous complications, from increased risk of contracting other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)—including HIV—to bladder problems, meningitis, and rectal inflammation.6 The active infection can also have a significant negative impact upon a person’s mental wellness and personal relationships.
Correct monitoring and access to treatment can help lower the risk of spreading the HSV infection, underscoring the need for reliable diagnostic testing.