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O04.4 Seroprevalence of Herpes Simplex Virus Types 1 and 2 United States, 1999–2010
  1. H Bradley1,
  2. L E Markowitz1,
  3. T Gibson2,
  4. G M McQuillan3
  1. 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of STD Prevention, Atlanta, GA, United States
  2. 2Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Atlanta, GA, United States
  3. 3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD, United States


Background Herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) are common infections with serious sequelae. HSV-1 is an increasingly important cause of genital herpes in industrialised countries, potentially due to less acquisition of HSV-1 during childhood or to changes in sexual behaviour.

Methods Using nationally representative data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), we examined change in seroprevalence of HSV-1 and HSV-2 among 14–49 year olds in the United States. We compared seroprevalence in 1999–2004 with 2005–2010, and examined seroprevalence among 14–19 and 20–29 year-olds stratified by socio-demographic characteristics and sexual behaviours. We also reviewed HSV-1 and HSV-2 seroprevalence from 1976–1980 to 2005–2010.

Results In 2005–2010, the seroprevalence of HSV-1 was 53.9%, and the seroprevalence of HSV-2 was 15.7%. From 1999–2004 to 2005–2010, HSV-1 seroprevalence declined by nearly 7% (P < 0.01), but HSV-2 seroprevalence did not change significantly. The largest decline in HSV-1 seroprevalence from 1999–2004 to 2005–2010 was observed among 14–19 year olds, among whom seroprevalence declined by nearly 23%, from 39.0% to 30.1% (P < 0.01). In this age group, HSV-1 seroprevalence declined among young men and women, non-Hispanic blacks and whites, and those living above and below the federal poverty level. Overall, HSV-1 seroprevalence declined more than 10% from 60.1% in 1976–1980 to 53.9% in 2005–2010 (P < 0.01). Among 14–19 year olds, HSV-1 seroprevalence declined more than 29%, from 42.6% to 30.1% (P < 0.01). Overall, HSV-2 seroprevalence increased slightly from 13.4% in 1976–1980 to 15.7% in 2005–2010 (P = 0.02).

Conclusions An increasing number of adolescents lack HSV-1 antibodies at sexual debut and are susceptible to genital HSV-1 infection. In the absence of declines in HSV-2 infections, the prevalence of genital herpes may increase.

  • HSV-1
  • HSV-2
  • National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys

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