Research Summary

USPSTF Recommends Against Serologic Screening for Genital Herpes Infection Citing Lack of New Evidence

Jessica Ganga

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has reaffirmed its 20161 recommendations against routine serologic screening for genital herpes.

A common sexually transmitted infection, genital herpes is caused by two related viruses: herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2). There is currently no cure for herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection, and it is a lifelong disease.

The investigators released their reaffirmed recommendation, noting that the “harms outweigh the benefits for population-based screening for genital HSV infection in asymptomatic adolescents and adults, including pregnant persons.”2

The investigators considered the following when reaffirming their recommendations:

  • There was no evidence of reliable and externally validated risk stratification tools to identify patients more or less like to have genital herpes.
  • There were no new studies that reported the harms for or treatment of genital herpes in asymptomatic patients.
  • There was a lack of studies that evaluated the efficacy of antiviral medications to reduce genital HSV-2 viral shedding.
  • There was limited evidence of the benefit of early identification and early treatment of HSV-2 in asymptomatic patients.

Further, in their statement, the investigators emphasized the need for more studies to evaluate screening, detection, and management of asymptomatic genital HSV infection.



  1. US Preventative Services Task Force. Serologic screening for genital herpes infection JAMA. 2016;316(23):2525-2530. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.16776
  2. US Preventative Services Task Force. Serologic screening for genital herpes infection. JAMA. 2023;329(6):502-507. doi:10.1001/jama.2023.0057