Factors predicting the acceptance of herpes simplex virus type 2 antibody testing among adolescents and young adults

Sex Transm Dis. 2004 Nov;31(11):665-9. doi: 10.1097/01.olq.0000143089.77493.c2.


Background: The rates and determinants of acceptance of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) testing have not been adequately studied.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to identify factors associated with acceptance of HSV-2 antibody testing in individuals with no history of genital herpes.

Study: We conducted a cross-sectional survey study followed by the offer of free HSV-2 serologic testing at an urban sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic, 2 general adult medical clinics, an urban university campus, and an urban adolescent medicine clinic. A total of 1199 individuals aged 14 to 30 years completed the survey and were offered testing.

Results: A total of 68.4% accepted HSV-2 testing. Factors independently associated with acceptance were female sex, older age, having an STD history, having 1 or more sexual partners in the last 6 months, perceived vulnerability to HSV-2 infection, and perceived benefits of HSV-2 testing. Fear of needles predicted rejection of testing, as did attending a general medical clinic versus an STD clinic and nonwhite race.

Conclusion: There is a substantial interest in HSV-2 antibody testing across a variety of settings. Those at greatest behavioral and historic risk for HSV-2 infection, women, and persons whose health beliefs are consistent with testing are more likely to accept serologic testing when it is offered.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Herpes Genitalis / blood
  • Herpes Genitalis / diagnosis*
  • Herpes Genitalis / epidemiology*
  • Herpes Genitalis / etiology
  • Herpesvirus 2, Human / immunology*
  • Herpesvirus 2, Human / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Indiana / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Ohio / epidemiology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Urban Health


  • Antibodies, Viral