Seroprevalence and coinfection with herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 in the United States, 1988-1994

J Infect Dis. 2002 Apr 15;185(8):1019-24. doi: 10.1086/340041. Epub 2002 Mar 22.


Seroprevalence of and coinfection with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2) in the United States were analyzed by use of data from a nationally representative survey (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III, 1988-1994). Evidence was explored for possible protection by prior HSV-1 infection against infection and clinical disease with HSV-2. Overall, 27.1% of persons aged > or =12 years were seronegative for HSV-1 and HSV-2; 51.0% were seropositive for HSV-1 only, 5.3% for HSV-2 only, and 16.6% for both HSV-1 and HSV-2. The seroprevalence of HSV-2 was higher in persons with HSV-1 antibody. Approximately 76% of persons who had HSV-2 antibody also had HSV-1 antibody. Persons seropositive for HSV-2 only reported a history of genital herpes more frequently (16.2%) than persons seropositive for both HSV-1 and HSV-2 (5.9%). The seroprevalence of HSV-1 and age at infection may influence the epidemiology of clinical genital herpes, even if prior HSV-1 infection does not prevent HSV-2 infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Female
  • Herpes Genitalis / complications
  • Herpes Genitalis / epidemiology*
  • Herpes Genitalis / immunology
  • Herpes Simplex / complications
  • Herpes Simplex / epidemiology*
  • Herpes Simplex / immunology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology