Stress as a predictor of symptomatic genetical herpes virus recurrence in women with human immunodeficiency virus

Deidre Byrnes Pereira, Michael H. Antoni, Aimee Danielson, Trudi Simon, Jo Nell Efantis-Potter, Charles S. Carver, Ron E.F. Durán, Gail Ironson, Nancy Klimas, Mary Ann Fletcher, Mary Jo O'Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objective: Genital herpes (Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2, HSV-2) is a significant public health problem for HIV+ women, who have high rates of HSV-2 seropositivity and elevated risk for HSV-2 associated morbidity and mortality. Life stress has been identified as a co-factor in genital herpes recurrence. However, no research has evaluated the relationship between stress and genital herpes recurrences in HIV+ women. The purpose of this study was to determine whether stress was associated with symptomatic genital herpes recurrences in women seropositive for HIV and HSV-2. Methods: Thirty-four HIV-infected African-American and Caribbean-American women underwent a psychosocial interview, blood draw and gynecologic examination to assess gynecologic symptoms (including genital herpes) at study entry. Life stress was measured using a 10-item modified version of the Life Experiences Survey (LES). Genital herpes recurrence over 1-year follow-up was abstracted using medical chart review. Results: Using hierarchical linear regression analysis, life stress at study entry was significantly associated with number of genital herpes recurrences during 1-year follow-up (β = .38, P =.03) after controlling for HIV disease variables and relevant behavioral factors. Recent life stress, in particular, was highly predictive of genital herpes recurrence during follow-up (β = .57, P= .002). The relationship between life stress and genital herpes recurrence persisted after controlling for HSV-2 viral reactivation (i.e., HSV-2 IgG titers) at study entry. Conclusion: These findings suggest that stress may be a significant predictor of genital herpes recurrence in women with HIV and HSV-2. Stress management interventions may buffer HSV-related morbidity and mortality in women with HIV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-244
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003


  • Genital herpes
  • HIV
  • Stress
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Psychology(all)


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