Objective. To evaluate the utility of a single quantitative PCR (qPCR) measurement of HSV (HSV-1&2) DNA in cervicovaginal lavage (CVL) specimens collected from women with predominantly chronic HSV-2 infection in assessing genital HSV shedding and the clinical course of genital herpes (GH) within a cohort with semiannual schedule of follow up and collection of specimens. Methods. Two previously described methods used for detection of HSV DNA in mucocutaneous swab samples were adapted for quantification of HSV DNA in CVLs. Single CVL specimens from 509 women were tested. Presence and quantity of CVL HSV DNA were explored in relation to observed cross-sectional and longitudinal clinical data. Results. The PCR assay was sensitive and reproducible with a limit of quantification of ∼50 copies per milliliter of CVL. Overall, 7% of the samples were positive for HSV-2 DNA with median log10HSV-2 DNA copy number of 3.9 (IQR: 2.6-5.7). No HSV-1 was detected. Presence and quantity of HSV-2 DNA in CVL directly correlated with the clinical signs and symptoms of presence of active symptomatic disease with frequent recurrences. Conclusion. Single qPCR measurement of HSV DNA in CVL fluids of women with chronic HSV-2 infection provided useful information for assessing GH in the setting of infrequent sampling of specimens. Observed positive correlation of the presence and quantity of HSV-2 DNA with the presence of active and more severe course of HSV-2 infection may have clinical significance in the evaluation and management of HSV-2 infected patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases