Background: Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is an important cause of genital ulcers and can increase the risk for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) transmission. Our objective was to determine the incidence and correlates of HSV-2 infection in HIV-1-seronegative Kenyan men reporting high-risk sexual behavior, compared with high-risk HIV-1-seronegative women in the same community.
Methods: Cohort participants were screened for prevalent HIV-1 infection. HIV-1-uninfected participants had regularly scheduled follow-up visits, with HIV counseling and testing and collection of demographic and behavioral data. Archived blood samples were tested for HSV-2.
Results: HSV-2 prevalence was 22.0% in men and 50.8% in women (P
Conclusions: HSV-2 incidence in these men and women is among the highest reported, and is associated with HIV-1 acquisition. Although vaginal washing with soap may increase HSV-2 risk in women, genital hygiene may be protective in men.