Risk factors for herpes simplex virus type 2 and HIV among women at high risk in northwestern Tanzania: preparing for an HSV-2 intervention trial

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2007 Dec 15;46(5):631-42. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e31815b2d9c.


Objectives: To determine prevalence of and risk factors for herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) and HIV among women being screened for a randomized, controlled trial of HSV suppressive therapy in northwestern Tanzania.

Methods: Two thousand seven hundred nineteen female facility workers aged 16 to 35 were interviewed and underwent serological testing for HIV and HSV-2. Factors associated with HSV-2 and HIV in women aged 16 to 24 were examined using logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).

Results: HSV-2 seroprevalence was 80%, and HIV seroprevalence was 30%. Among women aged 16 to 24, both infections were significantly and independently associated with older age, being a bar worker, working at a truck stop, and having more lifetime sexual partners. HSV-2 infection was also associated with lower socioeconomic status, increased alcohol intake, younger age at first sex, inconsistent condom use, and vaginal douching. There was a strong association between the 2 infections after adjustment for other factors (OR = 4.22, 95% CI: 2.6 to 6.9).

Conclusions: Female facility workers in northwestern Tanzania are vulnerable to HSV-2 and HIV infections. Programs designed to increase safer sexual behavior and reduce alcohol use could be effective in reducing HSV-2 incidence and, in turn, HIV infection. This is a suitable population for an HSV suppressive therapy trial.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alcoholism
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Female
  • HIV Antibodies / blood
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Herpes Genitalis / diagnosis
  • Herpes Genitalis / epidemiology*
  • Herpesvirus 2, Human / immunology
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Medical History Taking
  • Occupations
  • Risk Factors
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Tanzania / epidemiology
  • Vaginal Douching


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • HIV Antibodies