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Salud Publica Mex. 2003;45 Supp 5:S608-16.

[Seroprevalence of type 2 herpes simplex virus infection in 3 population groups of Mexico City].

[Article in Spanish]

Author information

Dirección de Microbiología, Centro de Investigación sobre Enfermedades Infecciosas, Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, Avenida Universidad 655, colonia Santa María Ahuacatitlán, 62508 Cuernavaca, Morelos, México.



To determine the seroprevalence of type 2 herpes simplex virus (HSV-2) infection and risk factors in three female population groups in Mexico City.


A cross-sectional study was carried out in 2000, among a sample population of women living in Mexico City, diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer, and women with negative Pap test results from the general population. Informed consent was obtained from all participants to answer a sociodemographic and sex life questionnaire and draw a blood specimen. The presence of antibodies against type 2 herpes simplex virus was determined using the type-specific Western blot technique. Crude and adjusted statistical analyses were performed on the associations between survey data and infection outcomes.


Women with cervical cancer had a seroprevalence of HSV-2 infection of 46.8% (191/408); that of women from the general population who were Pap negative was 29.3% (214/730). For women with breast cancer, the seroprevalence was 22.6% (29/128). Variables significantly associated with seropositivity against HSV-2 infection were older age, more sexual partners, having cervical cancer, and, among cervical cancer patients, beginning sexual activity before 21 years of age and being divorced or separated.


Study findings showed statistically significant differences in the prevalence of viral infection by population groups. The overall frequency of viral infection among study subjects shows that this is an intermediate risk population, as compared with other population groups in Mexico at high (sexual workers) and low (college students) risk. The main characteristics associated with exposure to type 2 herpes simplex virus for the subpopulations corresponded, as expected, to sexual behavior and to the probability of infection with older age. The English version of this paper is available too at:

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