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Background: Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), one the most common causes of genital ulcers, appears to increase both the risk of HIV acquisition and HIV transmission. HSV-2/HIV co-infection among pregnant women may increase the risk of perinatal transmission of HIV. This study describes rates of HSV-2 among pregnant women in Haiti and HSV-2 test performance in this population. Methods: Unlinked residual serum specimens from the 2012 National HIV and Syphilis Sentinel Surveillance Survey among pregnant women in Haiti were tested using two commercial kits (Focus HerpeSelect, Kalon) for HSV-2 antibodies. We evaluated rates of HSV-2 seropositivity and HSV-2/HIV co-infection, associations between HSV-2 and demographic characteristics using multivariable Cox proportional hazards modeling, and HSV-2 test performance in this population. Results: Serum samples from 1000 pregnant women (all 164 HIV positive and 836 random HIV negative) were selected. The overall weighted prevalence of HSV-2 was 31.4% (95% CI: 27.7-35.4) and the prevalence of HIV-positivity among HSV-2 positive pregnant women was five times higher than the prevalence among HSV-2 negative women (4.8% [95% CI: 3.9-6.0] vs. 0.9% [95% CI: 0.6-1.3], respectively). Factors significantly associated with HSV-2 positivity were HIV-positivity (PR: 2.27 [95% CI: 1.94-2.65]) and older age (PRs: 1.41 [95% CI: 1.05-1.91] for 20-24 years, 1.71 [95% CI:1.13-2.60] for 30-34 years, and 1.55 [95% CI: 1.10-2.19] for 35 years or greater]), while rural residence was negatively associated with HSV-2 positivity (PR 0.83 [95% CI: 0.69-1.00]), after controlling for other covariables. For this study a conservative Focus index cutoff of 3.5 was used, but among samples with a Focus index value ≥2.5, 98.4% had positive Kalon tests. Conclusion: The prevalence of HSV-2 is relatively high among pregnant women in Haiti. Public health interventions to increase access to HSV-2 screening in antenatal services are warranted.
Domercant, J. W., Jean Louis, F., Hulland, E., Griswold, M., Andre-Alboth, J., Ye, T., & Marston, B. J. (2017). Seroprevalence of Herpes Simplex Virus type-2 (HSV-2) among pregnant women who participated in a national HIV surveillance activity in Haiti. BMC Infectious Diseases, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-017-2674-4