Herpes simplex virus type 2 seropositivity among urban adults in Africa: results from two cross-sectional surveys in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Mihret W., Rinke de Wit TF., Petros B., Mekonnen Y., Tsegaye A., Wolday D., Beyene A., Aklilu M., Sanders E., Fontanet AL.
BACKGROUND: Although several surveys investigating the epidemiology of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infection using type-specific immunologic assays have been carried out in Africa, none has examined the risk factors for HSV-2 infection in a representative sample from an urban adult population. GOALS: To estimate the prevalence of HSV-2 infection in the adult population of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and to identify risk factors for HSV-2 infection. STUDY DESIGN: Two cross-sectional surveys, one community-based (June to September 1996, n = 506) and one factory-based (February to November 1997, n = 657), were conducted. Samples were tested for HSV-2 immunoglobulin G antibodies using type-specific enzyme-linked immunoassays (ELISA). RESULTS: In the community-based survey, HSV-2 prevalence increased with age until 25 years, then leveled off at 50% in both genders. The same independent predictors of HSV-2 infection were identified in both genders: older age, higher lifetime number of sexual partners, positive HIV serology, and positive Treponema pallidum hemagglutination serology. CONCLUSIONS: This study confirmed the high prevalence of HSV-2 infection among adults in an African urban population and its association with HIV infection. Prevention of HSV-2 and other sexually transmitted infections through partner reduction and condom use should be encouraged.