Introduction Over the past two decades, Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV2) became the most common cause of genital ulcer in the developed and the developing countries. It represents a risk factor for the acquisition and transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.
With regard to the lack of reports about HSV2 prevalence among Men having Sex with Men (MSMs) in Morocco, this study was conducted to determine the prevalence of the virus among MSMs associated to the risk behaviour.
Methods MSMs from two regions (Marrakech and Agadir) were recruited using Respondent-driven sampling, a chain referral sampling approach. Blood samples collected from 669 recruits were assessed for IgG antibody of HSV2 using ELISA method. Positive samples were tested for IgM to assess recent infection. HIV diagnosis was performed using ELISA test. Reactive samples were confirmed using western bot. Discordant tests were confirmed using PCR. Socio-demographic informations and behavioural data were collected to assess the risk factors associated with infections.
Results The results showed an overall HSV2 sero prevalence of 23%, and 4.2% for HIV1 infection. Co-infection with HSV2 among HIV positive recruits was estimated to 50%. Among HSV 2 reactive recruits, 7% were positive for HSV 2 IgM, which testifies a recent infection.
Only 22.4% of MSMs consistently used condoms with male partners and 35% had never been tested for HIV.
A Risky sexual behaviour and a lack of knowledge about STIs and HIV were the main driver of this situation.
Conclusion Findings suggest continuing STIs risk among MSM in Morocco and a need to strengthen prevention and testing.