Herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 2 increases the risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, and, in regions with high prevalence of both viruses, control of HSV-2 may be an effective method of HIV prevention. Identification of modifiable factors for prevention of HSV-2 infection is essential. We conducted this study among female bar and hotel workers in Moshi, Tanzania.Methods.
Factors associated with prevalent infection were examined among 1039 women. Predictors of incident infection were examined among 360 women initially HSV-2 negative, with at least 1 follow-up visit.Results.
HSV-2 prevalence was 56.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 53.3%-59.3%). Only 2.5% of women able to name a sexually transmitted infection named herpes. Incidence was 14.2 cases/100 person-years (95% CI, 10.5-18.8 cases/100 person-years). Incident HSV-2 infection was independently associated with HIV infection, younger age of sexual initiation, ethnicity, alcohol consumption, and having a male partner with other sexual partners.Conclusions.
The occurrence of HSV-2 is high in this population, but knowledge is low. Development of education programs to increase awareness of HSV-2 is critical. The control of both HSV-2 and HIV infections is a major public health priority in Moshi. Prevention interventions in this and other high prevalence populations might most effectively target younger women, before initiation of sexual activity.