To investigate whether asymptomatic shedding of herpes simplex virus occurs in women with recurrent genital herpes, six women with documented disease were followed up twice weekly with viral cultures and pelvic examination. During the study period of 1330 patient days and 452 patient visits, 26 episodes of genital herpesvirus infection were recorded. Twenty-three (88%) episodes were accompanied by signs and symptoms. Three (14%) of the culture-positive recurrences were asymptomatic. In one episode an asymptomatic lesion was noted, and in two instances viral shedding from the vulva or cervix occurred in the absence of visible herpetic lesions. Three of the six women had evidence of recurrent cervical herpesvirus infection. No relationships between menstrual cycle and sexual activity and the onset of recurrence were noted.
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