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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 22, 2004

Women Invited To Participate In UI Genital Herpes Study

Women ages 18 to 30 are invited to participate in a University of Iowa Health Care study to determine the safety and effectiveness of an experimental vaccine to prevent genital herpes, also known as herpes simplex virus (HSV).

Eligible participants must not have genital herpes or a history of cold sores. In addition, women must generally be in good health and cannot be pregnant or planning to get pregnant within seven months after beginning the study. Eligible participants randomly will be assigned to receive either the herpes vaccine or a hepatitis A vaccine.

The study will last approximately 20 months and include a total of eight visits to UI Hospitals and Clinics: an initial screening visit, three vaccination visits and four routine follow-up visits.

The UI is one of 17 centers participating in the study, which will involve nearly 7,500 women in total. The investigation is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

"When it comes to women's health, genital herpes is one of the most important infections to prevent," said Kevin Ault, M.D., UI associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and lead investigator for the UI site.

"A big concern about genital herpes are the painful, recurrent lesions. There also are pregnancy complications due to herpes," he added.

Genital herpes is the most common sexually transmitted disease and affects nearly 45 million people in the United States. Many people are asymptomatic, meaning they have the disease but do not show any symptoms. However, millions of people with genital herpes experience painful and frequent outbreaks in the genital area.

For more information, contact Tracy Peters, UI research nurse, at 319-384-4531 and ask about the genital herpes study.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5137 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 5224-1178

CONTACTS: Prospective study participants: Tracy Peters, 319-384-4531.
Media Only: Becky Soglin, 319 335-6660