Herpes Virus Infections and Psychoneuroimmunology
This chapter presents literature examining the relationship between psychological factors and herpes virus infections in humans, with an emphasis on reactivation of latent viruses and recurrent infection. Genital herpes has been described as one of the fastest spreading viruses in the United States. The chapter reviews data relating psychological factors to primary herpes virus infection, recurrent infections and reactivation of latent virus. Given the relationship between psychosocial factors and changes in immune status, one might speculate that greater impairments in stress-associated immune function would be found in older adults who are already somewhat immunocompromised due to aging. Although a direct causal relationship between psychological factors and illness has not yet been firmly established in humans, one might speculate on possible health implications of psychologically-mediated immune changes with regard to reactivation of latent herpes viruses.