Herpes simplex virus type 2 prevalence of epidemic proportions in rural Zimbabwean women: association with other sexually transmitted infections

Kjetland EF, Gwanzura L, Ndhlovu PD, Mduluza T, Gomo E, Mason PR, Midzi N, Friis H, Gundersen SG

Journal title: Archives of gynecology and obstetrics

Arch. Gynecol. Obstet. 2005 Jun;272(1):67-73

PMID: 15647913

Article on PubMed: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15647913


INTRODUCTION: Syndromic management of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is one important strategy in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention in developing countries, but there is a scarcity of rural community-based data on the relative prevalences of the STIs. We sought to determine the prevalences of the STIs and their clinical correlates in rural Zimbabwean women.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 527 sexually active, non-pregnant, non-menopausal women between the ages of 20 and 49 years.

RESULTS: The seroprevalence for herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), HIV, trichomoniasis and syphilis were 64.5, 29.3, 24.7 and 6.2% respectively. HSV-2 seropositivity was significantly associated with current non-syphilitic ulcers (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 4.91, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.08-22.34, p = 0.040). HSV-2 seroprevalence peaked at the age of 35 whereas HIV peaked at 25. The two diseases were strongly associated (OR 2.92, 95% CI 1.85-4.65, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: There is evidence of rural epidemics of both HSV-2 and HIV, and a change in the aetiology of genital ulcers in rural Zimbabwe.