Choosing Wisely®

Screening for Genital Herpes Simplex Virus Infection in Asymptomatic Adults

Recommendation

Don’t screen for genital herpes simplex virus infection (HSV) in asymptomatic adults, including pregnant women.

Serologic testing for HSV infection has low specificity and a high false-positive rate, and no confirmatory test is currently available. The serologic tests cannot determine site of infection. Given the prevalence of the infection in the United States, positive predictive value of the test is estimated at about 50%. A positive test can cause considerable anxiety and disruption of personal relationships.

This recommendation is provided solely for informational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about this recommendation or their individual situation should consult their physician.

About Choosing Wisely®

The Choosing Wisely®(www.choosingwisely.org)  campaign was created as an initiative of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation(www.abimfoundation.org) to improve health care quality. More than 70 specialty societies have identified commonly used tests or procedures within their specialties that are possibly overused.

Learn more about the AAFP support of the Choosing Wisely® campaign.