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Home Sexual Health Sexual Health Adolescents have High Rates of HSV-2

Adolescents have High Rates of HSV-2

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A study published in Sexually Transmitted Diseases finds adolescents have far higher rates of HSV-2 than the population at large.

Researchers tested 518 adolescents for HSV-2 at baseline and again at their final visit (median follow-up was just under two years). The subjects, who were ages 12-19 years, were part of the Reaching for Excellence in Adolescent Care and Health (REACH) study that examines how HIV progresses in young people. (REACH participants include HIV-positive and HIV-negative subjects.)

35% of the youth were positive for HSV-2 at enrollment while another 16% were positive at follow-up. Prevalent HSV-2 infections (those detected at enrollment) were more frequently found among females, non-Hispanics, and those uncertain about their sexual orientation. HIV-positive subjects were also more likely to have a prevalent HSV-2 infection.

Factors associated with incident HSV-2 infection (those who were initially negative but who had HSV-2 detected on follow-up) were drug/alcohol use and number of new sexual partners. The authors say the high rate of HSV detection among these young people points to “[A] critical need for screening and preventive programs among this targeted group.”

Sudenga S, Kempf M, McGwin G, Wilson C, Hook E, and Shrestha S. Incidence, prevalence, and epidemiology of herpes simplex virus-2 in HIV-1-positive and HIV-1-negative adolescents. STD, 2012. 39(4):300-305.


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