Antenatal seroprevalence of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) in Canadian women: HSV-2 prevalence increases throughout the reproductive years

Sex Transm Dis. 2001 Jul;28(7):424-8. doi: 10.1097/00007435-200107000-00011.


Background: This study sought to provide the first population estimates of herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2) seroprevalence in Canada.

Goal: To measure the antenatal seroprevalence of HSV-2 antibodies in reproductive age women.

Study design: An anonymous unlinked seroprevalence study used stored sera collected from pregnant women in British Columbia during 1999. Randomized sampling within age strata selected a total of 1215 subjects, ages 15 to 44 years. Serologic testing used the Gull Meridian Test. Overall prevalence was directly standardized to the 1999 Canadian female population.

Results: The age-adjusted prevalence for HSV-2 was 17.3% (95% CI, 15.2-19.4). Prevalence ranged from 7.1% (ages, 15-19 years) to 28.1% (ages, 40-44 years), with the largest increases after the age of 24 years.

Conclusions: The HSV-2 seroprevalence among pregnant women in British Columbia is similar to that in the United States and other countries. Seroprevalence continues to rise through the later reproductive years. This observation may relate to continued transmission, an age cohort effect, or both.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • British Columbia / epidemiology
  • Confidentiality
  • Female
  • Herpes Genitalis / epidemiology*
  • Herpes Genitalis / transmission
  • Humans
  • Population Surveillance
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology*
  • Prenatal Care
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Sampling Studies
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies