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BACKGROUND: Although several surveys investigating the epidemiology of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infection using type-specific immunologic assays have been carried out in Africa, none has examined the risk factors for HSV-2 infection in a representative sample from an urban adult population. GOALS: To estimate the prevalence of HSV-2 infection in the adult population of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and to identify risk factors for HSV-2 infection. STUDY DESIGN: Two cross-sectional surveys, one community-based (June to September 1996, n = 506) and one factory-based (February to November 1997, n = 657), were conducted. Samples were tested for HSV-2 immunoglobulin G antibodies using type-specific enzyme-linked immunoassays (ELISA). RESULTS: In the community-based survey, HSV-2 prevalence increased with age until 25 years, then leveled off at 50% in both genders. The same independent predictors of HSV-2 infection were identified in both genders: older age, higher lifetime number of sexual partners, positive HIV serology, and positive Treponema pallidum hemagglutination serology. CONCLUSIONS: This study confirmed the high prevalence of HSV-2 infection among adults in an African urban population and its association with HIV infection. Prevention of HSV-2 and other sexually transmitted infections through partner reduction and condom use should be encouraged.


Journal article


Sex Transm Dis

Publication Date





175 - 181


Adolescent, Adult, Africa, Eastern, Age Distribution, Cross-Sectional Studies, Ethiopia, Female, HIV Infections, Herpes Genitalis, Herpesvirus 2, Human, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Odds Ratio, Population Surveillance, Prevalence, Risk Factors, Sexual Behavior, Urban Population