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Genital Herpes (Herpes Simplex Virus)
1996 Case Definition

Clinical Description

A condition characterized by visible, painful genital or anal lesions

Laboratory Criteria for Diagnosis

  • Isolation of herpes simplex virus from cervix, urethra, or anogenital lesion, OR
  • Demonstration of virus by antigen detection technique in clinical specimens from cervix, urethra, or anogenital lesion, OR
  • Demonstration of multinucleated giant cells on a Tzanck smear of scrapings from an anogenital lesion

Case Classification


A clinically compatible case (in which primary and secondary syphilis have been excluded by appropriate serologic tests and darkfield microscopy, when available) with either a diagnosis of genital herpes based on clinical presentation (without laboratory confirmation) or a history of one or more previous episodes of similar genital lesions


A clinically compatible case that is laboratory confirmed


Genital herpes should be reported only once per patient. The first diagnosis for a patient with no previous diagnosis should be reported.