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P245 Getting herpes simplex: diagnosis, treatments and attitudes of patients and partners
  1. Marian Nicholson
  1. Herpes Viruses Association, London, UK


Background/introduction In 2003, a survey summary taken from patients with genital herpes, based on 198 responses was presented to BASHH. In 2015 similar questions were asked, with 548 replies.

Aim(s)/objectives Answers related to place of diagnosis (GP, GUM, etc.), treatments and psychological implications for patients and potential partners. Where the same question was asked in 2003, comparisons with before and after 2003 are made; also male/female. Neuropathic pain resulting from herpes simplex is not widely recognised. Questions re long-term pain have been included in 2015 questionnaire to assess the problem in this self-selected group.

Methods A SurveyMonkey to 800+ patients: diagnosed 1976–2015. Questions include where diagnosed, treatment used (e.g. suppression), have symptoms relocated, is there pain? Also level of psycho-sexual burden felt, telling partners and outcome?

Results Diagnosis: 2003, 26.8% by GPs; 53.5% direct to GUM. 2015, 25.5% going to GPs, 68.1% direct to GUM. Access to antivirals: 2003, 21% (n.42) – mixed episodic/suppressive treatment. 2015, greater usage: episodic treatment 33% (n.161), suppression 25.4% (n.139). 11.3% buy antivirals online. 22.6% get antivirals from GUM, 34.9% from GPs. 8.4% have been refused antivirals by GPs, 8.1% refused by GUMs. Most also use complementary therapy including 59.5% making dietary changes. Itching, shooting, aching and other pains before outbreaks 61%, at any time 32% 57.7% actively seek changed mental attitude. 81.8% have told partner(s) with 82.5% success rate.

Discussion/conclusion There are limited opportunities for following herpes simplex patients long-term. As well more patients using antivirals, there is a high level of self-help, physical and psychological. Associated neuropathy is high.

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