November 2005

The Relationship Between Condom Use and Herpes Simplex Virus Acquisition
Annals of Internal Medicine Vol 143, Issue 10

Background: Few studies have evaluated the relationship between condom use and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) and HSV type 1 (HSV-1) acquisition.
Objective: To assess the relationship between condom use and acquisition of HSV-2 and HSV-1 among men and women. Design: Analysis of data collected as part of a clinical trial of an ineffective candidate vaccine for HSV-2.
Sexually transmitted disease clinics.
Men and women at risk for HSV-2 acquisition, defined as having 4 or more sexual partners or having a sexually transmitted disease in the past year.
Acquisition of HSV-2 and HSV-1 as measured by viral culture or change to positive HSV serostatus. Results: Of 1843 participants, 118 (6.4%) became infected with HSV-2. In multivariate analyses, participants reporting more frequent use of condoms were at lower risk for acquiring HSV-2 than participants who used condoms less frequently (hazard ratio, 0.74 [95% CI, 0.59 to 0.95]); categories of increasing condom use were 0% to 25%, 25% to 75%, and greater than 75% of sexual acts. Nineteen (2.9%) of 659 participants at risk for infection with HSV-1 became infected. No statistically significant association between condom use and infection with HSV-1 was found (hazard ratio, 0.79 [CI, 0.48 to 1.31]).
Use of condoms was measured by self-report, and persons who used condoms may have differed from those who did not.
Conclusions: Consistent use of condoms is associated with lower rates of infection with HSV-2 and should be routinely recommended.


International Herpes Week: October 31 - November 6, 2005
International Herpes Alliance

The dates for this year's International Herpes Week (IHW) were 31 October through to 6 November. The theme for this years campaign was 'Know Herpes'. This page will be updated regularly with further information about the campaign.

Does your organisation promote better herpes education and awareness? Would you like to be involved in this years International Herpes Week campaign? Let us know if you plan to get involved and tell us how at


Earlier 2005

January 14 , 2005
Findings Recommend Herpes Vaccine for Human Trials
Microbiology, Focus Online, Harvard Medical Schools

A new study provides evidence that a herpes vaccine developed by David Knipe, the Higgins professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at HMS, is a strong candidate for testing in humans. The research, in the January Journal of Virology, compared three different experimental vaccines for herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2), which causes most cases of genital herpes.
David Knipe’s herpes vaccine can stimulate the immune system from inside host cells, a quality that previous vaccines have lacked.



July 22, 2004
Neurokinin 1 Receptor Signaling Affects the Local Innate Immune Defense against Genital Herpes Virus Infection
Journal of Immunology Vol 175

We show that genital infection with neurotropic HSV type 2 (HSV-2) induced a significant increase of the neuropeptide substance P (SP) within the genital tract of mice. SP was shown to weakly interfere with the HSV-2 replication. Furthermore, lack of SP signaling through the use of mice deficient in the SP receptor, neurokinin 1 receptor (NK1R), revealed an important role for SP in the innate defense against HSV-2. NK1R-deficient mice had significantly enhanced levels of HSV-2 in the genital tract and in the CNS following infection and a significantly accelerated disease progression, which was associated with an impaired NK cell activity locally in the vagina. Lack of NK1R signaling did, however, not impair the animals’ ability to mount a protective immune response to HSV-2 following vaccination with an attenuated virus. Both NK1R +/+ and NK1R –/– mice developed strong HSV-2-specific Th1 T cell responses following vaccination. No genital viral replication was observed in either vaccinated NK1R-deficient or NK1R +/+ control animals following a genital HSV-2 challenge, and all of these animals survived without any symptoms of disease. In conclusion, the present results indicate that SP and NK1R signaling contributes to the innate resistance against HSV-2 infection in mice.


May 10, 2004
Recurrent herpes simplex encephalitis
European Journal of Internal Medicine Vol 16, Issue 7

Recurrent herpes simplex virus (HSV) encephalitis is a rare disorder with only a few cases reported. We report a case of HSV encephalitis with documented recurrence in the same anatomic location, lending support to the theory of reactivation as the mechanism of disease.


April 30, 2004
Small Genes May Help "Mono" Virus Hide in Humans

Genome News Network April 30, 2004

Five small genes discovered in the virus that causes mononucleosis may explain the virus’s remarkable ability to hide in the human body for decades without being detected by the immune system.
The five genes make molecules that can reduce the activity of other genes, such as human genes in cells infected by the virus.
For instance, the virus may enter a human immune cell and produce a molecule that suppresses a human gene that would normally help detect the virus. As a result, the human immune system does not recognize the virus.
The molecules are known as microRNAs.