Despite their concern about transmission, people with genital herpes may be unknowingly putting their partner at risk



    Canada-wide survey highlights significant gaps in education and knowledge
    of genital herpes

    TORONTO, Feb. 20 /CNW/ - The largest survey of its kind, INSIGHTS(1)
provides an important assessment of the management, perception and
understanding of genital herpes in Canada. Genital herpes is one of the most
common sexually transmitted infections, and for patients the emotional burden
often significantly outweighs the physical symptoms of the disease. The survey
of 400 people with genital herpes and 200 physicians(2) was conducted out of
the University of Alberta, fielded by Ipsos-Reid and published in the February
issue of the BMJ publication Sexually Transmitted Infections.
    The INSIGHTS survey highlights that more than 80 per cent of Canadians
with genital herpes agree: "I can handle the outbreaks of genital herpes; it's
the risk of transmitting the virus that really troubles me". The survey also
shows that many significantly underestimate the risk of transmitting genital
herpes to their partner when no symptoms are present, and that most are
unaware of the options available to reduce this risk. As 70 per cent of
genital herpes cases are actually transmitted when there are no lesions, sores
or other symptoms, these results are of concern.
    "INSIGHTS shows us that people with genital herpes are inadvertently
putting their partners at risk - their greatest concern - because of a lack of
knowledge about how and when the virus can be transmitted and how to
effectively reduce the risk of transmission of the virus to their partner,"
says Dr. Barbara Romanowski, clinical professor in the division of infectious
diseases at the University of Alberta and lead author of the survey. "It
demonstrates a clear need for ongoing communication between people with
genital herpes and physicians to ensure a clear understanding of how to
protect their partners."

    EFFECTIVENESS OF CONDOMS OVERESTIMATED

    The Public Health Agency of Canada updated Canadian Sexually Transmitted
Infections (STI) Guidelines note that condom use reduces transmission of
genital herpes by 50 per cent and that condom effectiveness is limited because
the virus may be passed from person-to-person in an area not covered by a
condom. The STI Guidelines state that the use of condoms and daily antiviral
therapy is important for reducing the risk of transmission of genital herpes.
INSIGHTS however highlights that this is not commonly understood by people
living with genital herpes: 60 per cent believe condoms are very effective and
60 per cent were not aware that there is daily treatment available to reduce
the risk of passing the virus on to a partner.

    
    ----------------------------
    (1) INSIGHTS: In search of optimal genital herpes management and standard
        of care: doctor's and patients' perception of genital herpes.
    (2) INSIGHTS survey was completed by 151 doctors of the 200 approached
    


    "The reality is, when it comes to the transmission of genital herpes a
condom is not enough. The positive news is that you can significantly reduce
the risk of transmitting the virus to a partner when you combine consistent
condom use with daily antiviral therapy," says Dr Romanowski. "If you have
genital herpes, keep an open dialogue with your doctor to ensure you are doing
all you can to best manage genital herpes and reduce the risk of
transmission."

    THE MANAGEMENT OF GENITAL HERPES

    Genital herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections
in Canada and although there is no cure, it is manageable. In addition to the
physical burden, genital herpes causes emotional distress. INSIGHTS highlights
this emotional burden, with more than half (56 per cent) of patients worrying
'constantly' about the risk of transmitting the virus to a partner. By keeping
an open dialogue with their doctor, people with genital herpes can help ensure
they have the most up-to-date information on new research and treatment
strategies.
    "I've been living with genital herpes for 23 years. Protecting my partner
has always been most important to me and I feel much better knowing that I'm
doing all I can to ensure I don't pass the virus on," said Jerry(*). "I also
speak to my doctor regularly to make sure I am informed. If you have genital
herpes, I urge you to do the same." For more information about genital herpes
visit www.herpeshealth.ca.

    ABOUT INSIGHTS

    INSIGHTS explored patient and physician perceptions and understanding of
genital herpes in Canada, including emotional impact, risk of transmission and
treatment. Four hundred patients and 200(3) doctors from across Canada were
surveyed from May 15, 2006 to June 9, 2006 using a cross-sectional, online
survey methodology. INSIGHTS was published in the BMJ Journal Sexually
Transmitted Infections, in February, 2008 and was supported by an unrestricted
educational grant from GlaxoSmithKline.

    ABOUT HERPESHEALTH.CA

    www.herpeshealth.ca was developed with Canadian doctors who are experts
in managing and treating people with genital herpes. Content on
www.herpeshealth.ca is reviewed by physicians to ensure that the most recent
and relevant information is available to visitors.

    GLAXOSMITHKLINE INC.

    GlaxoSmithKline Inc. - one of the world's leading research-based
pharmaceutical and healthcare companies - is committed to improving the
quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live
longer. In Canada, GlaxoSmithKline is a top 15 investor in Canadian research
and development, contributing close to $200 million annually. It is an Imagine
Caring Company, and is recognized as one of the 50 best companies to work for
in Canada.

    (*) A pseudonym is being used to protect privacy


    ----------------------------
    (3) INSIGHTS survey was completed by 151 doctors of the 200 approached


    Video B-Roll Available Via Satellite:

    10:00 - 10:30 firm, Eastern, Wednesday February 20, 2008

    Anik F2C/7B @ 111.1 West
    Vertical Polarization, D/L Freq. 3980 MHz.
    Audio subcarriers 6.8 left, 6.2 right
    Also available at the same times at Toronto T.O.C. SDI Router Position
    No. 42

    14:00 - 14:30 firm, Eastern, Wednesday February 20, 2008
    Anik F2C/7B @ 111.1 West
    Vertical Polarization, D/L Freq. 3980 MHz.
    Audio subcarriers 6.8 left, 6.2 right
    Also available at the same times at Toronto T.O.C. SDI Router Position
    No. 42





For further information:

For further information: or to schedule an interview, please contact:
Jennifer Goode/Jaclyn Crawford, Edelman, Tel: (416) 979-1120 ext. 230/344,
jennifer.goode@edelman.com/jaclyn.crawford@edelman.com; Jo-anne Nugent,
Director of Communications, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of
Alberta, Tel: (780) 492-9651, jo-anne.nugent@ualberta.ca

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