Introduction Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 (HSV 2) is the most common cause of genital ulcer disease and facilitates the acquisition of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). It leads to lifelong latent infection and this raises concerns among women of reproductive age, considering the risk of neonatal transmission. This study aims to determine HSV-2 seroprevalence among pregnant women, identify the correlation with socio-demographic characteristics, sexual behaviour, pregnancy outcomes and co-infection with HIV.
Methods A total of 270 pregnant women attending antenatal clinic of the University College Hospital Ibadan were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. Their serum samples were tested for HSV-2 IgG using type specific third generation ELISA and HIV1, using Uni-Gold Recombigen and ALERE determine. Pretested questionnaire were used to obtain bio-data on socio-demographic characteristics, sexual behaviour and obstetrics history of the participants. Data analyses was done using SPSS version 20.
Results The seroprevalence of HSV 2 type specific IgG was 33.3% (90/270) and a HIV/HSV 2 co-infection rate of 39% (35/90) was observed. Logistic regression analysis showed that polygamy, low educational level, positive HIV status, previous sexually transmitted infections (STIs), early age at sexual debut and multiple sexual partners were independent risk factors for HSV-2 infection. Obstetrics complications such as intrauterine foetal death, congenital malformations and spontaneous abortion were predictors of HSV-2 infection.
Conclusion The seroprevalence of HSV-2 in this pregnant population is lower than what is observed in some other Sub-Saharan African countries; however, co-infection with HIV is high and majority of the women are still susceptible to primary HSV-2 infection in pregnancy. The demographic, sexual behaviour and bad obstetrics histories found to be predictors of HSV 2 infection in this study may be important in selecting candidates for screening tests, developing strategies towards effective health promotion campaign and reducing risk of HIV transmission.