Sexual behavioural correlates of herpes simplex virus type 2 infections among pregnant women in South-western Nigeria

Chinenye G. Anaedobe, Tinuade A. Ajani


Background: Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is the most common cause of genital ulcer disease. It leads to lifelong latent infection and this raises concerns among women of reproductive age, considering the risk of neonatal transmission. This study was undertaken to identify the sexual behavioural correlates of HSV-2 infection as well as negative pregnancy outcomes.

Methods: The cross-sectional study was conducted between March and August 2013, in the antenatal clinic of the University College Hospital Ibadan. A total of 270 pregnant women aged 20 to 44 years were enrolled and their serum samples were tested for HSV-2 IgG using type specific third generation ELISA (DIAPRO Milano Italy). Pretested validated questionnaire were used to obtain bio-data, sexual behaviour and obstetrics history of the participants. Data analyses was done using SPSS version 20.

Results: The seroprevalence of HSV-2 type specific IgG was 33.3% (90/270). Logistic regression analysis showed that multiple lifetime sexual partners, early age at sexual debut, previous history of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and having spouses whose work keep them away from home, were independent risk factors for HSV-2 infection. Obstetrics complications such as intrauterine foetal death, congenital malformations and spontaneous abortion were also strongly associated.

Conclusions: The predictors of HSV-2 infection in this study may be important in selecting candidates for screening tests and developing strategies towards effective health promotion campaign.


HSV-2, Pregnant women, Sexual risk behaviour, Vertical transmission

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