In a study of the prevalence of rectal infection with herpes simplex virus (HSV) in a group of homosexual men the magnified appearance of the rectal mucosa correlated with isolation of the virus. HSV was isolated from rectal material from five of 77 men with proctitis of unknown cause but from none of 44 control patients without proctitis; two of four men with HSV proctitis were asymptomatic. Thus, the magnified rectal mucosal image, showing severe congestion, haemorrhage, and pus, appears to be a sensitive indicator of the presence of HSV proctitis.
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