Prevalence and risk factors for herpes simplex infection among patients at high risk for HIV infection in Brazil.

Published: June 1, 2011


Herpes simplex infection is responsible for substantial morbidity in patients with HIV infection. Data from less-developed countries analyzing risk factors within this population are largely unavailable.

Investigate the incidence and seroprevalence of HSV-1 and HSV-2 infection in populations at high and low risk for HIV infection.

A prospective cohort study was performed in a population at high risk for STDs composed of 170 HIV seronegative male homosexuals and bisexuals (group A). The population at low risk for STDs was composed of 155 volunteer male blood donors (group B). All blood samples were screened using a type specific ELISA to HSV-1 and HSV-2 glycoprotein G (gG).

The prevalence of HSV-1 and HSV-2 infection among all the 325 patients was 83.5% and 63.4%, respectively. Annual incidence of HSV-1 and 2 among group A were 0.053% and 0.08%, respectively. Among group B, the incidence for HSV-1 was 0.04% and for HSV-2 was 0.02%. Educational parameters (P<0.001), irregular use of condoms (P<0.001), and percentage of previous receptive anal intercourse (P<0,012) were significantly associated with seropositivity to HSV-2. About 8.4% of the HSV-1 seronegative subjects presented recurrence episodes of herpes labialis as well as 7.6% of the HSV-2 seronegative patients had genital herpes in the past.

The high seroprevalence detected suggests that routine screening for HSV should be performed in populations at high risk for STDs, especially in HIV-infected patients.

Educational campaigns, with particular focus on the transmission of HSV, and the regular use of condoms are important measures to reduce the HSV dissemination among patients with less advanced educations and at high risk for STDs.

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