Publications & Reports

Prevalence of HSV-2 antibody in a Melbourne antenatal population attending a tertiary obstetric hospital.

Sasadeusz JJ, Silvers JE, Kent HE, Devenish W, Hocking J, Garland SM
Centre of Clinical Research Excellence in Infectious Diseases, Victorian Infectious Diseases Service, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. [email protected]


OBJECTIVE: To determine the herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) seroprevalence rate in a Melbourne antenatal cohort. DESIGN: Prospective collection of serum and questionnaires in 1371 women attending an outpatient antenatal clinic. SETTING: A tertiary obstetric hospital in metropolitan Melbourne. PARTICIPANTS: Women aged 18 years or older attending an antenatal clinic appointment. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Seroprevalence rate of HSV-2 using an ELISA-based- type-specific serological assay. RESULTS: The overall HSV-2 seroprevalence rate in women was 13.6%. Only 0.4% of assays were equivocal and required confirmation by Western blot analysis. By multivariate analysis, HSV-2 seroprevalence was found to be associated with increasing age (odds ratio (OR) 4.63; confidence interval (CI) 1.86, 11.52 for age greater than 40 years), increasing number of sexual partners (OR 4.07, CI 2.13, 7.7 for five or more) and a past history of genital herpes in the index case (OR 5.48, CI 2.77, 10.87) or in a current or previous partner (OR 8.29, CI 4.15 to 16.56). CONCLUSIONS: HSV-2 seroprevalence rates in Melbourne are comparable to other similar populations in Australia. Routine antenatal screening for HSV-2 is probably not warranted but targeted screening based on numbers of sexual partners or a history of genital herpes in partners may be justified.


  • Journal: The Australian & New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
  • Published: 01/06/2008
  • Volume: 48
  • Issue: 3
  • Pagination: 266-272