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Psychological factors in recurrent genital herpes.
  1. J Green,
  2. A Kocsis
  1. National AIDS Counselling Training Unit, St Charles Hospital, London.


    OBJECTIVES: To review recent research into psychological aspects of genital herpes and assess possible implications for clinical practice. METHODS: Review of all papers in the field on Medline 1985-96. RESULTS: Much attention has been paid to possible links between stress and recurrent genital herpes. There is no convincing evidence that stress in itself causes recurrences. It may be that recurrences are preceded by a prodromal period of altered mood. Patients with recurrences show considerable stress as a result of the disease, although most individuals eventually adjust psychologically. The impact of social support on adjustment remains unclear. The little evidence available suggests that antiviral treatments can help adjustment and the effects may perhaps outlast the period of active treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Existing research gives some clues to optimal patient management but there is a need for future research to focus much more clearly on clinical issues, particularly on means of alleviating psychological distress and on the impact of antivirals.

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