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Herpes simplex virus type 2 among mobile pastoralists in northwestern Namibia

Publication Abstract

Hazel, Ashley, Betsy Foxman, and Bobbi Low. 2015. "Herpes simplex virus type 2 among mobile pastoralists in northwestern Namibia." Annals of Human Biology, 42(6): 543-551.

Background: Although herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) epidemiology has been described for many western and/or urban populations, disease burden has not been characterized for remote, non-western, under treated populations, where patterns of risk and vulnerability may be very different.

Aims: To understand demographic, behavioural and geographic influences on risk for HSV-2 in a population of mobile, rural pastoralists in northwestern Namibia.

Subjects and methods: The authors conducted a cross-sectional survey of reproductively aged adults (n = 445) across 28 villages in Kaokoveld, Namibia. All participants completed a questionnaire of demographic data, ecological interactions and sexual behaviour, and a rapid test specific for HSV-2.

Results: HSV-2 status was significantly associated with being female (OR = 3.1, 95% CI = 2.00, 4.71), increasing age (men: OR = 7.5, 95% CI = 2.67, 20.85; women: OR = 6.2, 95% CI = 2.48, 15.50) and with higher wealth among men (OR = 5.1, 95% CI = 1.98, 13.09).

Conclusions: Higher risk among women can be explained, in part, by local hygiene practices and a preference for "dry" sex. There was considerable variation in prevalence by region, which appears to be linked to geographic remoteness. Culturally contextualized epidemiologic studies of remote, vulnerable populations can provide essential information for limiting the introduction and spread of new infections.

Read More: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/03014460.2014.970575

DOI:10.3109/03014460.2014.970575 (Full Text)

Country of focus: Namibia.

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