Type-specific herpes simplex virus-1 and herpes simplex virus-2 seroprevalence in Romania: comparison of prevalence and risk factors in women and men

Arama, V.; Cercel, A.S.; Vladareanu, R.; Mihai, C.; Mihailescu, R.; Rankin, J.; Goschin, S.; Filipescu, A.; Rafila, A.; Arama, S.; Hristea, A.; Malkin, J.E.; Pimenta, J.M.; Smith, J.S.

International Journal of Infectious Diseases Ijid Official Publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases 14(Suppl 3): E25-E31


ISSN/ISBN: 1878-3511
PMID: 20106695
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijid.2009.07.026
Accession: 056727435

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To determine herpes simplex virus (HSV)-2 and HSV-1 seroprevalence in women and men in Romania. A cross-sectional seroprevalence survey was conducted between 2004 and 2005 on a total of 1058 women and men representative of the population of Bucharest. All participants were aged 15-44 years and completed a structured questionnaire. A blood sample was collected to detect IgG anti-HSV-1 and HSV-2 serum antibodies using the HerpeSelect ELISA (Focus Diagnostics). A total of 761 women (median age 29 years) and 297 men (median age 29 years) were included. Overall, HSV-2 seroprevalence (15.2%) increased with age. Among women, HSV-2 seroprevalence increased from 11.0% in 15-19-year-olds to 38.3% in 40-44-year-olds. Among men, seroprevalence increased from 4.0% in 20-24-year-olds to 27.1% in 40-44-year-olds. HSV-2 seroprevalence was significantly higher among women than men (17.0% vs. 10.8%). HSV-1 seropositivity was high (87.2%) in all age groups, with no clear trend by age or by sex. In addition to older age and female sex, risk factors for HSV-2 included greater number of lifetime sexual partners, lower educational attainment, and history of genital vesicles. Lower educational level and rural residence were associated with a higher risk of HSV-1 seropositivity. In Romania, HSV-2 seroprevalence was higher in women than men, and was within European limits and lower than that in Africa and the USA. In contrast, HSV-1 seroprevalence was generally higher than that previously recorded in similarly aged populations in Western Europe.