One out of five teens and adults has genital herpes-many of them women. How can you help stem the epidemic? By identifying patients at risk for acquiring and transmitting herpes simplex virus using type-specific serologic tests, say these experts.
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Underdiagnosis and lack of symptoms are fueling the genital herpes crisis in the United States. Of the 1.6 million new cases of genital herpes in this country each year, most are transmitted by persons who are unaware that they're even infected-because their infections are subclinical or undiagnosed. But accurate serologic tests to detect HSV antibodies and distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2 infection exist and in our opinion should be used routinely to diagnose herpes infections in symptomatic persons and in asymptomatic persons at risk for having or acquiring the infection.