Objectives: To determine seroprevalence and determinants of herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) seropositivity, in a random sample of a population based cohort of 10 049 women of Guanacaste, Costa Rica, using a highly sensitive and specific serological assay. Methods: Seroprevalence was determined by a type specific HSV-2 ELISA assay in an age stratified random sample of 1100 women. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for risk factors of seropositivity. Results: Overall age adjusted HSV-2 seroprevalence was 38.5% (95% CI, 37.5 to 39.5), and it was strongly associated with increasing age (pTrend<0.0001) , both among monogamous women and women with multiple sexual partners. A greater number of lifetime sexual partners increased the risk of seropositivity, with a 28.2% (95% CI, 24.4 to 32.2) seroprevalence among monogamous women and 75% (95% CI, 65.6 to 83.0) seroprevalence for those with four or more partners (OR=7.6 95% CI, 4.7 to 12.4 pTrend<0.0001). Barrier contraceptive use was negatively associated with HSV-2 seropositivity (OR 0.54, 95% CI, 0.31 to 0.94). Women with antibodies against HPV 16, 18, or 31 were 1.6 times more likely to be HSV-2 seropositive (OR 1.6, 95% CI, 1.2 to 2.1). Conclusions: HSV-2 infection is highly endemic in Guanacaste, even among lifetime monogamous women, suggesting a role of male behaviour in the transmission of the infection. Until vaccination against HSV-2 is available, education to prevent high risk sexual behaviour and the use of condoms appear as preventive measures against HSV-2.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases