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

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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.

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