Characterization of genital herpes population: a retrospective study in a tertiary center in Lisbon




Mafalda Pestana, Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Lisboa Central, Lisbon, Portugal Margarida Brito-Caldeira, Department of Dermatology and Venereology. Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Lisboa Central, Lisbon, Portugal Joana Alves-Barbosa, Department of Dermatology and Venereology. Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Lisboa Central, Lisbon, Portugal Miguel Santos-Coelho, Department of Dermatology and Venereology. Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Lisboa Central, Lisbon, Portugal Ana L. João, Dermatology and Venereology Department, Hospital de Santo António dos Capuchos, Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Lisboa Central, E.P.E., Lisboa, Portugal Tomás Pessoa-e-Costa, Department of Dermatology and Venereology. Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Lisboa Central, Lisbon, Portugal Rita Côrte-Real, Department of Laboratory of Molecular Biology - Clinical Pathology. Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Lisboa Central, Lisbon, Portugal José M. Neves, Department of Dermatology and Venereology. Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Lisboa Central, Lisbon, Portugal Cândida Fernandes, Department of Dermatology and Venereology. Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Lisboa Central, Lisbon, Portugal


Objective: Genital herpes (GH) is one of the most common sexual transmitted infections. Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) genital infections have been increasing, with a shift toward its predominance in many developed countries. The aim of this study was to characterize the population with GH diagnosed in Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Lisboa Central, Lisbon, Portugal. Methods: A retrospective analysis of all laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of GH between 2017 and 2021 was conducted. The diagnosis was established by real-time polymerase chain reaction, in samples collected by swabbing suspicious mucocutaneous lesions. Medical records of included patients were reviewed and data of interest analyzed. Results: During the studied period, a total of 239 patients were diagnosed with GH, from which 76.6% (n = 183) were caused by HSV type 2 (HSV-2). Most patients were men (68%; n = 163), with a mean age of 35.7 years. Compared to the group diagnosed with HSV-2, the mean age was significantly lower in the HSV-1 group (28.6 years vs. 37.9; p < 0.001) and the proportion of patients with first clinical manifestations of GH was significantly higher in the latest (67.8% vs. 30%; p < 0.001). Concomitant infection with human immunodeficiency virus was detected in 17.6% of the subjects, being significantly more prevalent among men and within the HSV-2 group (p = 0.018). Conclusions: HSV-2 remained the most common cause of GH throughout the study. Even so, similar to other European studies, HSV-1 patients were younger and the proportion of initial infection in this group was significantly higher.



Keywords: Genital herpes. Sexual transmitted infections. Epidemiology.