Background/introduction HSV-1 is the primary cause of genital herpes in the UK. Genital HSV has been linked with early sexual debut as well as men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM), but previous studies do not differentiate between genital HSV-1 and HSV-2. A diagnosis of genital herpes is often distressing to patients due to stigma surrounding herpes, and receiving a sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnosis.
Aim(s)/objectives To assess whether genital HSV-1 is associated with high risk sexual behaviours in comparison with HSV-2, chlamydia, or asymptomatic patients with no STI diagnosis.
Methods An NRES approved questionnaire assessing sexual behaviour - based on NATSAL questions and other recognised risk taking behaviours - was completed by 125 patients attending a UK level 3 sexual health service, with a diagnosis of first episode genital HSV-1 or HSV-2, or a diagnosis of chlamydia or asymptomatic with no STI diagnosis.
Results Preliminary results show that the chlamydia group is the highest risk takers; in comparison, the HSV-1 group have lower risk sexual histories.
Discussion/conclusion Provisional results have shown that HSV-1 genital herpes may not be associated with high risk sexual behaviour. In order to challenge the stigma surrounding genital herpes, further research is required.