November 19, 2010
The researchers undertook the current study to examine prevalence of and associations between herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infection and HIV infection among never-injecting users of heroin and cocaine (NIDUs) in New York City.
The study's subjects were patients entering the Beth Israel drug detoxification program. Researchers obtained subjects' informed consent, collected blood samples for HIV and HSV-2 antibody testing, and administered a structured questionnaire detailing demographics, history of drug use, and sexual risk behavior.
Between July 2005 and June 2009, 1,418 subjects who had never injected drugs were recruited. Most were male (76 percent) and black (67 percent) or Hispanic (25 percent). Seventy-four percent reported recent use of crack cocaine. The subjects' mean age was 42. Of the men, 11 percent reported sex with men (MSM).
HSV-2 prevalence was 61 percent among the total sample; 50 percent among the non-MSM males; 85 percent among the females; and 72 percent among the MSM.
HIV prevalence was 16 percent among the total sample; 12 percent among the non-MSM males; 20 percent among the females; and 46 percent among the MSM. HSV-2 was associated with HIV (odds ratio=3.2; 95 percent confidence interval: 2.3-4.5; PR=2.7, 95 percent CI: 2.0-3.7). Different patterns for mono-and co-infection for the two viruses were indicated in analyses by gender and age groups.
"HSV-2 and HIV rates among these NIDUs are comparable with rates in sub-Saharan Africa," the authors concluded. "Additional prevention programs, tailored to gender and age groups, are urgently needed. New platforms for providing services to NIDUs are also needed."