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Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2011 Nov;13(11):818-23. Epub 2011 Nov 1.

HSV-2 Seroepidemiology and Risk Factors among Iranian Women: A Time to New Thinking.

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International Campus, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Kish, Iran.



Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease in many developed and developing countries mostly caused by Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). This study determines the prevalence of HSV-2 infection between two groups of women with high and low risk behaviors.


In this seroepidemiologic study, 362 women attending obstetrics and gynecology clinics as low risk group and 156 prisoners and drop in center resident women in Tehran as high risk group were enrolled. HSV infection was identified by serologic tests on blood samples.


The prevalence of IgG antibody in high risk group was significantly more than low risk women (26.3% vs. 2.5%). The prevalence of IgM antibody in high risk group was less than low risk group (3.8% vs. 7.1%) but the difference was not statistically significant. In high risk group, there was significant association between positive IgG and anal/oral sex, use of condom, smoking and drug addiction as well as genital pain, burning, itching, ulcer, dysuria, and history of genital infection. In low risk group, association between positive IgM and IgG test results and risky behaviors were not significant. There was significant association between IgM and genital itching, rash, and ulcer.


Relatively high seroprevalence of anti-HSV-2 IgG and high frequency of genital Herpes among high risk women necessitates regular screening and safe sex education programs. Moreover, risk of acute infection in this group should not be ignored and its distribution in Iranian population should be alarmingly concerned.


Behavior; Female; Genital; Herpes Simplex Virus; Iran

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