An amplified enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for herpes simplex virus (Novo Nordisk) was compared with cell culture in 853 genital specimens from a genito-urinary medicine clinic. The sensitivity of the EIA was 86% and its specificity 99.6%. The sensitivity increased to 94% for lesion swabs but decreased to 68% for cervical swabs. Sensitivity for urethral and vulval swabs was 83% and 82%, respectively. It is concluded that the EIA is specific and quick and easy to perform. It will be suitable for testing for genital herpes simplex infections in laboratories without access to local cell culture facilities.