Sex with women as a risk factor for herpes simplex virus type 2 among young men who have sex with men in Baltimore

Hayley D. Mark, Frangiscos Sifakis, John B. Hylton, David D. Celentano, Duncan A. Mackellar, Linda A. Valleroy, Jonathan Zenilman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Herpes simplex virus type 2 is common among MSM and is a risk factor for transmission of HIV. The findings of studies investigating the relationship between infection with HSV-2 and number of sex partners among MSM are inconsistent and rarely distinguish between male and female partners. Goal: To determine the prevalence and risk factors for infection with HSV-2, including the number and gender of sex partners, in a group of MSM in Baltimore, MD. Study: This was a cross-sectional study among young MSM in Baltimore. Results: Of the blood samples from 824 participants, 19.3% had HSV-2 antibodies. After adjusting for known HSV-2 correlates, independent predictors of HSV-2 seropositivity included HIV seropositivity, black race, older age, number of lifetime female sex partners, recent unprotected receptive anal intercourse with a man. Conclusions: This study suggests that female sex partners may be an important source of HSV-2 infection among young bisexual MSM. After adjusting for known HSV-2 correlates, the number of lifetime female but not male sex partners was independently associated with HSV-2. These results highlight the need for HSV-2 prevention and treatment efforts targeting MSM who also have sex with women. Future investigations of HSV-2 and sexual behavior among MSM need to distinguish between male and female sex partners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-695
Number of pages5
JournalSexually transmitted diseases
Volume32
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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