Genital herpes education and counselling: testing a one-page 'FAQ' intervention

Herpes. 2009 Jan;15(3):51-6.


Approximately 17% of adults in the USA have antibodies to herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), 85-90% of whom are unaware of their infection. Diagnosed patients are more likely to detect HSV reactivation, disclose infection status to partner(s) and employ risk-reduction strategies; therefore, diagnosing more cases may reduce herpes transmission rates. Providers are reluctant to identify genital herpes because of potentially lengthy counselling visits or discomfort in dealing with patients' emotional reactions. This study tested the efficacy of a one-page frequently-asked-questions (FAQ) sheet regarding length of initial diagnostic visit, patient satisfaction with topics covered, provider's coverage of topics and resources/referrals provided to patients. Data from 147 patients and 26 providers were analysed. When pre- and post-FAQ sheet data were compared, diagnostic visit time was not substantially reduced but there were favourable trends in patient satisfaction levels on some topics, and providers covered more topics and offered more resources. This FAQ was useful in simplifying topics, providing prompts for providers and resources for patients. While this FAQ sheet appears favourable in this exploratory study, more investigation is needed to measure the degree to which patients use and understand the FAQ sheet, and find it to be a helpful tool.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Consumer Health Information / methods*
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Female
  • Herpes Genitalis* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Patient Satisfaction