Millions of people around the world suffer from clinical recurrences of herpesvirus infections of the oral and genital types. Because HSV-2 is a sexually transmitted virus, public concern about it is high, especially among sexually active men and women. Yet, ironically, clinically visible signs of infection are infrequently observed by most patients or their physicians because the virus remains in a latent, clinically undetectable state most of the time. HSV-2 increases the risk of infection with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), and it is commonly found in patients with other sexually transmitted diseases (STD), including cervical cancer the risk of which increases with increased sexual activity (behaves as an STD). HSV-2 can also cause severe hyperproliferative lesions that are difficult to diagnose.
A large population sector in need of diagnostic information about HSV-2 consists of pregnant women. Simple, safe, rapid and inexpensive diagnostic tests for HSV-2 are needed.