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International Family Planning Perspectives

HIGH RISK OF GENITAL HERPES AMONG TANZANIAN WOMEN

HIGH RISK OF GENITAL HERPES AMONG TANZANIAN WOMEN

Lane, Trevor

A substantial proportion of women aged 15-49 in urban Tanzania have herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), an infection associated with HIV infection, according to a study of 382 randomly selected women who attended three primary health care clinics in Moshi between September and December 1999.1 In all, 39% of women tested positive for antibodies to HSV-2; these women comprised 23% of 15-19-year-olds, 37% of 20-29-year-olds and 49% of 30-49-year-olds. Women who were older than 29, had a history of spontaneous abortion, had had first sex before age 18 and reported a total of two or more partners had increased odds of being infected with HSV-2 (odds ratios, 1.5-3.6). Commenting that the prevalence of HSV-2 is high among women of reproductive age in urban Tanzania-even by ages 20-29-the investigators suggest that infection occurs in the first few years of sexual debut and, hence, “young people should be targeted more by public health interventions.”

Copyright Alan Guttmacher Institute Dec 2003

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