Herpes simplex virus (HSV)‐specific IgG and IgA antibody response in patients with HSV infection and in healthy adults was studied by the immunoperoxidase antibody‐membrane antigen (IPAMA) technique. In all HSV infections in which specific IgM antibodies were detected by enzyme‐linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), a significant rise in the titer of HSV IgG and IgA antibodies was found. In contrast, in patients with recurrent herpes labialis in which no specific HSV IgM antibodies were detected by ELISA, HSV IgG and IgA antibodies were not found to fluctuate significantly during the course of infection. A higher geometric mean titer (GMT) for HSV IgG and for IgA antibodies was found in seropositive individuals with a previous history of recurrent HSV than in seropositive individuals without a previous history of recurrent HSV infection. Nineteen of 26 HSV IgG seropositive healthy medical students without a previous history of recurrent HSV infection had HSV IgA antibodies to membrane antigen. The significance of this finding in understanding the mechanism of latency in healthy seropositive individuals without previous history of HSV recurrent infections is discussed.