Patient attitudes to type specific serological tests in the diagnosis of genital herpes

Genitourin Med. 1997 Aug;73(4):259-62. doi: 10.1136/sti.73.4.259.


Objective: To assess patient attitudes to HSV-2 serotesting and the effect of providing detailed information regarding genital herpes, the blood test, and its implications.

Methods: Consecutive genitourinary medicine clinic attenders were asked to complete an anonymous self administered questionnaire. Half received minimal additional information while the other half received a detailed information sheet.

Results: Overall, 200 clinic attenders with a median age of 27 years (range 15-57) completed the questionnaire, 92.4% wanted to know if they, and 90.8% if their partners, had been infected with genital herpes; 65% expected testing as part of screening without further discussion. Overall, on a scale of 1-10, 2% scored 1 (equivalent to definitely not wanting a test), while 45.5% scored 10 (equivalent to definitely wanting a test). The overall median score was 9 (95% confidence interval 8-10) suggesting a strong opinion in favour of testing. The desire to test in each of five described hypothetical situations increased significantly (p < 0.001) when compared with the general desire.

Conclusions: Clinic attenders expressed a strong preference to be serotested for HSV-2 which was unaltered by the provision of information highlighting implications, although influenced significantly by the context in which they were asked. Should reliable tests become available the level of demand could have important implications on laboratory and counselling resources.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Female
  • Herpes Genitalis / diagnosis
  • Herpes Genitalis / psychology*
  • Herpesvirus 2, Human / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Serologic Tests / psychology
  • Truth Disclosure


  • Antibodies, Viral