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Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2005 Jun;272(1):67-73. Epub 2005 Jan 13.

Herpes simplex virus type 2 prevalence of epidemic proportions in rural Zimbabwean women: association with other sexually transmitted infections.

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  • 1Department of Infectious Diseases, Centre for Imported and Tropical Diseases, Ullevaal University Hospital, 0407 Oslo, Norway.



Syndromic management of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is one important strategy in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention in developing countries, but there is a scarcity of rural community-based data on the relative prevalences of the STIs. We sought to determine the prevalences of the STIs and their clinical correlates in rural Zimbabwean women.


A cross-sectional study was conducted among 527 sexually active, non-pregnant, non-menopausal women between the ages of 20 and 49 years.


The seroprevalence for herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), HIV, trichomoniasis and syphilis were 64.5, 29.3, 24.7 and 6.2% respectively. HSV-2 seropositivity was significantly associated with current non-syphilitic ulcers (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 4.91, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.08-22.34, p = 0.040). HSV-2 seroprevalence peaked at the age of 35 whereas HIV peaked at 25. The two diseases were strongly associated (OR 2.92, 95% CI 1.85-4.65, p < 0.001).


There is evidence of rural epidemics of both HSV-2 and HIV, and a change in the aetiology of genital ulcers in rural Zimbabwe.

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