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Background: Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) causes genital herpes, a chronic viral infection that is sexually transmitted and often results in genital ulcer disease (GUD) worldwide.
Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) IgG and IgM antibodies and the associated risk factors among undergraduate female students of Babcock University.
Methods: After ethical approval was obtained, serum samples of 150 consenting female participants (16-35 years) were collected randomly and screened using NADALR HSV-2 IgG/IgM Rapid Antibody Test Cassette (Bulgarian Company for Biotechnology, Sofia, Bulgaria). The demographic and clinical information of the participants were also collected using a structured questionnaire. The results were statistically analyzed using the SPSS version 18.0.
Results: The outcome of the study shows that out of the 150 participants screened, 5 (3.3%) were positive for HSV-2 IgG antibody, 4 (2.7%) were positive for HSV-2 IgM; while 2 (1.3%) were positive for both HSV-2 IgG and IgM antibodies. There were no significant differences (P>0.05) in the seropositivity for HSV-2 IgG and IgM antibodies among the study participants on the basis of age distribution. With regards to clinical indication for genital herpes in relation to seropositivity of HSV-2 IgG and IgM antibodies among the study participants, none of the 7 (4.6%) who indicated vaginal itching was seropositive for either HSV-2 IgG or HSV-2 IgM or both. On the other hand, genital lesions were recorded in 0.7% HSV-2 IgG seropositive, 1.3% HSV-2 IgM seropositive and 0.7% HSV-2 both IgG and IgM seropositive. Genital ulcer was recorded among two participants who were either seropositive for HSV-2 IgG (0.7%) or HSV-2 IgM (0.7%). Only one (0.7%) participant indicated inguinal lymphadenopathy, however, the person was HSV-2 IgG/IgM seronegative. Identifiable risk factor significantly (P<0.05) associated with HSV-2 infection include: history of sexually transmitted infections, HIV positive status, and change of sex partners recently.
Conclusion: The outcome of this study shows that HSV-2 infection exists among undergraduate female students of Babcock University, Nigeria and therefore appropriate public health measures must be taken to halt the cycle of infection within the University community. Early detection of genital herpes and prompt treatment will help prevent subsequent complications such as genital ulcer disease among young female adults.
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