While growing evidence suggests that condoms offer moderate protection against herpes simplex virus type 2 HSV-2inability to control for unknown or unmeasured confounders associated with sexual activity may reduce the accuracy of the estimates. The case-crossover design offers increased control of individual-level confounders, and was thus used with the aim of producing a more accurate estimate of the effect of condom use on HSV-2 acquisition. Data were pooled from six prospective studies that measured HSV-2 status at enrollment and over follow-up, and included periodic self-reported condom use and sexual activity.
Although condom use reduces the risk of sexually transmitted diseases STDs such as human immunodeficiency virus and gonorrhea, until recently the effectiveness of condoms in the prevention of genital herpes was unclear. Condoms are thought to offer incomplete protection from herpes simplex because the virus may infect external genitalia not covered by the condom. Herpes simplex virus type 2 HSV-2 is the predominant cause of genital herpes; a small percentage of infections are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 HSV
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Both oral herpes infections and genital herpes infections are mostly asymptomatic but can cause mild symptoms or painful blisters or ulcers at the site of infection. HSV-1 is a highly contagious infection, which is common and endemic throughout the world. Most HSV-1 infections are acquired during childhood, and infection is lifelong. The vast majority of HSV-1 infections are oral herpes infections in or around the mouth, sometimes called orolabial, oral-labial or oral-facial herpesbut a proportion of HSV-1 infections are genital herpes infections in the genital or anal area.
Condom use helps to prevent the spread of genital herpes, particularly from a man with HSV-2 to a susceptible woman, according to a study in the upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Condom use might help slow the epidemic of genital herpes, which now infects about one in five Americans. In the United States, about half a million people —women andmen — acquire genital herpes HSV-2 every year.
No prospective study has shown the ability of condoms to reduce transmission of HSV In multivariable analysis, younger age adjusted hazard ratio [HR] per 5 years, 1. Risk of HSV-2 transmission declined from 8.
The efficacy of condoms for protection against transmission of herpes simplex virus type 2 HSV-2 has been examined in a variety of populations with different effect measures. Often the efficacy has been assessed as change in hazard of transmission with consistent vs inconsistent use, independent of the number of acts. Condom efficacy has not previously measured on a per-act basis.
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Magaret AS, et al. Clin Infect Dis. The efficacy of male condom use in preventing herpes simplex virus-2 transmission among HIV-1 and herpes simplex virus-2 serodiscordant couples varied by gender, according to recent findings.