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Original Research

Herpes simplex virus 2 infection in HIV-seropositive individuals in Tamil Nadu, India

Saramma M Jacob, Thatchinamoorthy Gopal, Sivasangeetha Kanagasabai, Anitha Durairaj, Kamala M Sushi, Ganesan Arumugam.


Background: Viral infection with Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is one of the most common opportunistic infections in seropositive patients of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Studies have confirmed that genital herpes caused by HSV-2 has been associated with two- to threefold increased risk of HIV acquisition.

Objective: To determine the seroprevalence of HSV-2 in HIV-positive patients.

Materials and Methods: A prospective, cross-sectional study was conducted from July 2012 to January 2013 and HIV-positive patients were enrolled into the study after obtaining written informed consent. Demographic characteristics were recorded and serology test was performed using HSV-2 IgG ELISA test kit (Calbiotech, USA). Results were analyzed using X2-test.

Results: Among 273 HIV-positive patients, 67% were men, 33% were women, and 1 transgender with an average age of 38.8 years. Overall, 50% of HIV-positive patients had HSV-2 IgG antibodies. Seroprevalence of HSV-2 among HIV-positive men and women was 47% and 57%, respectively. The highest HSV-2 seropositivity was detected in the age group of 36–45 years. X2-Analysis showed a statistically significant association between HSV-2 and HIV infection (X2 = 55.900, p = 0.0076). The median CD4 counts estimated in 100 patients were 563.50 cells/mm3. No significant difference was observed in the CD4 counts of those with or without HSV-2.

Conclusion: HSV-2 prevalence was higher in HIV-positive women than in men. The implementation of continuous interventions for sexually transmitted infections and HIV will bring down the prevalence and spread of both HSV-2 and HIV infection.

Key words: HSV-2, HIV, seroprevalence, Tamil Nadu

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