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We studied the prevalence of antibody to Herpes simplex virus types I and 2 (HSV-I and HSV-2) in 766 randomly selected Costa Rican women 25-59 years of age in a national household survey in 1984-1985. Overall, 97.1% were seropositive for HSV-l and 39.4% for HSV -2. Only 1.1% of HSV -2 seropositive women gave a history of symptomatic genital herpes. HSV-2 virus antibody increased with age and with the number of lifetime sexual partners. HSV -2 seroprevalence among women who reported only 1 lifetime sexual partner was almost twice as high as the prevalence among women who denied sexual experience (30.5% vs. 17.7%) and reached 79.2% among women with < 4 partners. HSV-2 seroprevalence was lower among women whose partners used condoms: 28.9% for those who had used condoms for at least 2 years vs. 44.3% for those who never used condoms.


Costa Rica; Epidemiology; Herpes genitalis – Risk factors; Herpes genitalis – Transmission; Herpes simplex virus; Immunoglobulins; Women


Epidemiology | Female Urogenital Diseases and Pregnancy Complications | Public Health | Virus Diseases


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