Sexually Transmissible Viral Pathogens: Human Papillomaviruses and Herpes Simplex Viruses
This chapter focuses on human papillomavirus (HPV) and herpes simplex virus infections. The HPV genome is an 8-Kb double-stranded deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) circle consisting of a control region and a relatively small number of genes coding for remarkably multifunctional proteins. Time issues for reporting laboratory results to patients should be considered for clinical management. Traditional methods of culture detection generally require a relatively long time to report results; confirmation of negative results generally takes approximately 2 weeks. Herpes simplex type-1 and type-2 DNA viruses preferentially infect skin and mucosal tissues. Herpetic viruses generally establish latency in sensory ganglia following initial acquisition, causing an infection that persists for life. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is relatively labor intensive and more prone to false positive results than culture-based methods. PCR-based methods allow a more accurate picture of the natural history of herpes viral shedding, reactivation, and herpetic lesions.