USPSTF releases statement on genital herpes screening

A Grade D recommendation discourages routine screening in asymptomatic adolescents and adults.
A Grade D recommendation discourages routine screening in asymptomatic adolescents and adults.

HealthDay News — The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends against routine serologic screening for genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection in adolescents and adults who are asymptomatic, including pregnant women. These findings form the basis of a draft recommendation statement published online August 2 by the USPSTF.

Members of the USPSTF reviewed the evidence for screening for genital HSV infection. Data were reviewed from 18 studies, of which none of the randomized controlled trials compared screening with no screening.

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The Task Force found that the potential benefit of screening in asymptomatic adolescents and adults, including pregnant women, was found to be no greater than small. Potential harms, including the high false-positive rate, potential anxiety, and diagnosis-related disruption of relationships, were estimated to be at least moderate. As a result of these findings, the USPSTF concluded with moderate certainty that the harms outweigh the benefits for population-based genital HSV screening (D recommendation). The draft recommendation statement is available for comment through August 29.

"While genital herpes is relatively common, testing is not generally helpful for people who have not experienced symptoms, in part because the tests are often inaccurate," Task Force member, Maureen G. Phipps, MD, MPH, said in a statement. "Further, because there's no cure, there isn't much doctors and nurses can do for people who don't have symptoms."

Reference

  1. Genital herpes infection: Serologic screening [draft recommendation statement]. Rockville, MD: The US Preventive Services Task Force. Published August 2, 2016. Accessed August 4, 2016.
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