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P115 Is genital herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) associated with high risk sexual behaviours?
  1. Rohilla Maarij1,
  2. Sogha Khawari1,
  3. Qiang Lu1,
  4. Tadiwanashe Chirawu1,
  5. Emily Clarke2,
  6. Raj Patel1,3
  1. 1School of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  2. 2Department of Sexual Health, Solent NHS Trust, St Mary’s Community Health Campus, Portsmouth, UK
  3. 3Department of Sexual Health, Solent NHs Trust, Royal South Hants Hospital, Southampton, UK


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.

Abstract P115 Table 1

HSV and sexual behaviour

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.

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