Decreasing Prevalence of Herpes Simplex Virus-2 Antibodies in Selected Groups of Women in Sweden
Matilda Berntsson, Petra Tunbäck, Agneta Ellström, Ingela Krantz, Gun-Britt Löwhagen
High estimates of herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) seroprevalence have been reported for women who were pregnant in Sweden in the 1980s, probably reflecting sexual risk-taking during the 1960s and 1970s. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the HSV-2 seroprevalence in pregnant women and in the female attendees at a clinic for sexually transmitted infections in Sweden at the beginning of the 21st century and to compare the results with those of earlier Swedish studies. Sera were collected during the period 2000 to 2002 from 299 pregnant women at an antenatal clinic and from 290 female attendees at a clinic for sexually transmitted infections in Gothenburg. To enable comparison with earlier seroprevalence data the same test method was used; Helix pomatia antigen in an enzyme-linked immunoassay. The overall HSV-2 prevalence was 10.4% for the pregnant women and 25.2% for the female attendees at the clinic for sexually transmitted infections. The seroprevalence of HSV-2 in pregnant women appears to have decreased in Sweden during the past decade, which may reflect changes in sexual behaviour.