In the confirmation of recurrences of genital herpes, patient defined disease reactivation and virological data hold the scientific high ground. The influence of the psyche on recurrence rates and perception of recurrences has been largely neglected and marginalised up to the present, possibly because research work in that area has been and continues to be of poor calibre. However, neglected psychological variables may render otherwise relevant clinical trials uninterpretable. Psychological aspects of counselling before testing for serum herpes simplex type 2 antibodies are also discussed.
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