Prevalence and determinants of genital shedding of herpes simplex virus among women attending Italian colposcopy clinics

Fausto Boselli, Giuseppe Chiossi, Marisa Bortolamasi, Andrea Gallinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives: To determine the prevalence of herpes simplex virus (HSV) shedding among women attending Italian colposcopy clinics and describe their lifestyle, demographic characteristics, genital symptoms and signs. Study design: A cross-sectional study was performed to assess shedding of HSV among 4565 women requiring a gynecological consultation. An amplified enzyme immunoassay that detects an HSV type-common glycoprotein D was used to reveal HSV shedding in cervical specimens. Statistical analysis was performed using Chi-square test and Student's t test. Results: A prevalence of 7.8% was found among colposcopy clinic patients. No significant differences regarding patients' average age, age at first sexual intercourse, contraceptive method used, and number of sexual partners in the previous year were found between subjects with and without viral shedding (P > 0.05). The detection of a concomitant genital infection with Trichomonas vaginalis as well as the report of previous episodes of genital herpes (GH) were significantly higher in the positive group (P < 0.01). Only 2.8% of the patients shedding HSV presented with vesicles and ulcers, with the majority of them being asymptomatic. Conclusion: This is the first Italian survey on genital herpes conducted among colposcopy clinic patients. Our data show that the prevalence of HSV shedding in this study population is high and confirms that the disease is often asymptomatic. The demographics and behavioural variables of women shedding HSV seem to differ from the ones assessed in high risk patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-90
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 10 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Colposcopy clinics
  • Enzyme immunoassay
  • Genital herpes
  • Viral shedding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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