Genital and perianal herpes simplex simulating neoplasia in patients with AIDS Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Anus Diseases
  • Anus Neoplasms
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Male
  • HIV Infections
  • Herpes Genitalis
  • Herpes Simplex


  • Genital and perianal herpetic ulcers are common in HIV-infected patients and chronic mucocutaneous ulcers persisting for more than 1 month are the hallmark of active AIDS status. However, atypical clinical manifestations of herpes simplex virus (HSV) may occur in immunocompromised patients presenting as tumor-like nodules or condylomatous or hypertrophic lesions, rather than a classic ulcer. Such unusual presentations raise the risk of misdiagnosis and a delay in appropriate treatment. Here we describe nine immunocompromised HIV-positive patients with CD 4 count ranging from 14-362/mm(3) (mean 170/mm(3)), with unusual tumoral presentation of anogenital herpes. There were six male and three female patients with AIDS with mean duration of HIV infection of 14 years. All of the patients had history of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), with five patients compliant with the therapy at the time of biopsy. Six patients presented with scrotal or vulvar masses and three with perianal nodules. Five patients had adjacent human papilloma virus (HPV)-related lesions. Prior to excision, herpetic lesion was clinically suspected in only three patients and in the rest of the patients a malignant growth was the main clinical concern. The predominant histopathologic finding was dense dermal plasmacytic infiltration with overlying pseudoepitheliomatous hyperplasia, superficial ulcers and classic herpetic inclusions. Patients with AIDS may experience excessive number and size of both primary and reactivated herpetic lesions. The tumoral presentations discussed here are less common, but are often clinically misdiagnosed. It is important to be aware of these unusual presentations to provide a correct diagnosis and prompt, effective treatment for HSV. Several studies suggest that aggressive treatment of HSV in combination with HAART therapy provides a significant survival benefit. Pathobiology mechanisms of unusual and exaggerated tumor-like inflammatory response are not completely elucidated.

publication date

  • March 2009



  • Academic Article



  • eng

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1089/apc.2008.0143

PubMed ID

  • 19302018

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 153

end page

  • 8


  • 23


  • 3