Genital herpes

BMJ Clin Evid. 2011 Apr 15;2011:1603.


Introduction: Genital herpes is an infection with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2), and is among the most common sexually transmitted diseases.

Methods and outcomes: We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of interventions to prevent sexual transmission of herpes simplex virus? What are the effects of interventions to prevent transmission of herpes simplex virus from mother to neonate? What are the effects of antiviral treatment in people with a first episode of genital herpes? What are the effects of interventions to reduce the impact of recurrence? What are the effects of treatments in people with genital herpes and HIV? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to January 2010 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Results: We found 35 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.

Conclusions: In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: antivirals, caesarean delivery, condoms, oral aciclovir, psychotherapy, recombinant glycoprotein vaccines, serological screening, and counselling.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acyclovir / pharmacology
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage
  • Condoms
  • Herpes Genitalis* / drug therapy
  • Herpesvirus 2, Human* / drug effects
  • Humans


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Acyclovir