Original Research

Herpes simplex virus-2 infections in pregnant women from Durban, South Africa: prevalence, risk factors and co-infection with HIV-1

Nathlee S. Abbai, Shanthie Govender, Makandwe Nyirenda
Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases | Vol 33, No 5 | a149 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajid.v33i5.149 | © 2019 Nathlee S. Abbai, Shanthie Govender, Makandwe Nyirenda | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 May 2019 | Published: 25 October 2018

About the author(s)

Nathlee S. Abbai, School of Clinical Medicine, Nelson Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Shanthie Govender, School of Clinical Medicine, Nelson Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Makandwe Nyirenda, South African Medical Research Council, HIV Prevention Research Unit, Durban, South Africa

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Abstract

Currently there is a lack of data on herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) and human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) co-infections as well as risk factors for infection in antenatal women from South Africa. The present study attempts to fill this gap. This cross-sectional study was conducted from April to August 2017 at the antenatal clinic of the King Edward VIII hospital in Durban, South Africa. In total 248 pregnant women participated in the study. Data on the women’s demographics, sexual behaviour and clinical information were collected. HIV testing was conducted using a rapid test and the HerpeSelect 2 ELISA was used to test for HSV-2. The prevalence of HSV-2 and HIV-1 was 71% and 50% and coinfection rate was 60%. In adjusted analyses, women who were aged ≥ 35 years (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]: 4.95, p = 0.01), experienced recent symptoms of genital itching/sores/warts (AOR 2.48, p = 0.05) and were HIV-positive (AOR 3.64, p<0.01), were more likely to be infected with HSV-2.
Older age (30–34 years old) (AOR 6.53, p < 0.01) and having ≥ 4 lifetime sex partners (AOR 4.59, p = 0.03) were strongly associated with HSV-2/HIV-1 co-infections. The findings of this study call for continuous risk reduction counselling in this population.


Keywords

herpes simplex virus-2; HIV-1; pregnant women; risk factors

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