Objectives To assess the prevalence and correlates of herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2) infections among pregnant women attending mobile antenatal health camps in rural villages in Mysore Taluk, India.
Methods A cross-sectional community-based study was conducted between June 2007 and Dec 2008 among pregnant women living in rural villages in Mysore Taluk. Each participant completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire in Kannada and consented to provide a blood sample for HIV testing and other antenatal investigations. All women were also screened for type specific HSV-2 IgG antibodies. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to analyse sociodemographic and other behavioural related characteristics related to the prevalence of HSV-2 infection.
Results There were 487 women found to be pregnant in the selected 52 different villages in Mysore Taluk. Majority (478/487, 98%) participated in the study and underwent an interviewer-administered questionnaire and other procedures. HSV-2 prevalence was 6.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] 4.4–9.0) among the study population, while only a single woman tested positive for HIV. The average age of women in was 21 years and had been married for an average of 34 months. Women whose main sex partner travelled away from home had 2.68 (CI: 1.13–6.34) times the odds of being HSV-2 seropositive compared to a women whose main sexual partner did not travel. Having experienced genital lesions was also associated with HSV-2 infection (P-value = 0.060).
Conclusion The 6.7% HSV-2 prevalence was similar to results obtained in other studies measuring the prevalence of HSV-2 among pregnant women in India. It is plausible that most women in this study contracted HSV-2 from their husbands and few women regularly use condoms with their husbands. This highlights the need for continuing education among both women and men living in rural India to increase condom use to decrease the spread of both HSV-2 and HIV.
- Herpes simplex virus type 2