PREVALENCE OF HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS TYPE-2 AMONGST COMMERICAL SEX WORKERS

PREVALENCE OF HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS TYPE-2 AMONGST COMMERICAL SEX WORKERS IN JOS NORTH LGA

abstract

Human simplex virus type-2 is an asymptomatic infection which poses a public health challenge to humans coupled with its inability to be prevented through vaccination. Public awareness campaign is a useful tool to reducing this menace especially as prevention and control of HSV-2 infection is concerned. This study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of HSV-2 among commercial sex workers in Jos metropolis of Plateau State. A total of 92 commercial sex workers were recruited for the study with questionnaires administered and their serum samples collected and screened using DA-HSV 1, 2 IgG-2010, USA. Out of the 92 screened participants, 77 (83.7%) were positive for HSV-2. The highest prevalence was found among commercial sex workers tested with more than one sexual partner (100.0%). Possible risk factors for HSV-2 infection in this study is associated with divorce (90.5%), genital discharge (90.2%), those with secondary school educational level (87.9%), unprotected sex (85.9%) and those within the age range 10 – 19 years (85.3%). This work shows that HSV-2 is present among commercial sex workers examined. Therefore intense public awareness and proper screening of HSV-2 should be done regularly to comb spread and further transmission of the infection.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Herpes simplex virus is also known as human herpesvirus of herpesvirus family, herpesviridae, which infect humans (Ryan et al., 2004). HSV-2 produces most genital herpes which are ubiquitous and contagious.  Herpes simplex can be spread through contact with saliva, such as sharing drinks. Symptoms of herpes simplex virus infection include watery blisters in the skin or mucous membranes of the mouth, lips or genitals. Lesions heal with a scab characteristic of herpetic disease. Sometimes, the viruses cause very mild or atypical symptoms during outbreaks. HSV persist in the body by becoming latent and hiding from the immune system in the cell bodies of neurons. After the initial or primary infection, some infected people experience sporadic episodes of viral reactivation or outbreaks. In an outbreak, the virus in a nerve cell becomes active and is transported via the neuron’s axon to the skin, where virus replication and shedding occur and cause new sores. It is one of the most common sexually transmitted infection (Straface et al., 2012).

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Commercial sex activities are often reported among female workers in Jos; however, there are indications of male involvement in these (Mohd et al., 2013).

However, HSV antibodies status is also an objective measure of sexual behaviours such as early age of sexual debut and acquisition rate of genital herpes.HSV is a blood borne virus mostly transmitted through; sex, injected drug use, 2inadequate sterilization of medical equipment, transfusion of unscreened blood, organ, and blood products, sexual route and from infected mother to her baby (WHO, 2014).

HSV infections are usually asymptomatic in approximately 80% of the people following it long incubation period for 2weeks to 6months. Acutely symptomatic symptoms includes; fever, fatique, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, grey-coloured faeces, joint pain and jaundice(Craske et al.,1975, WHO, 2014).

Early screening and diagnosis of HSV is rare due to the fact HSV-2infection is usually asymptomatic and will remain undiagnosed until serious liver damage has developed. HSV is usually diagnosed as;

Screening for anti-HSV antibodies with serological test by Enzyme Linked Immune Sorbent Assay (ELISA) and Strip Recombinant Immunoblot Assays.

Quantitative detection of viral genome of HSV RNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) (WHO, 2014)

je is a strong association between HSV-2 and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) serostatus, Data on HSV-2 antibodies status can be useful for the identification of individuals at greater risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV infection which may be valuable for HIV prevention efforts. HSV-2 is the most common cause of genital ulcer worldwide which lead to lifelong risk of viral transmission to sexual partners. Recent cross sectional prevalence surveys revealed HSV-2 seroprevalence range from 21.6%-65.1% among hospitality girls and sex workers (Nguyen et al., 2005).

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Prevention of herpes simplex virus infection is primarily dependent upon reducing the risks of exposure to the virus since there is no vaccine for herpes simplex virus, hand hygiene, safe handling and disposal of sharps and waste, safe cleaning of equipment, testing of donated blood and training of health personals (Alter et al., 1990 WHO, 2014).

Secondary infected people should be educated and counseled for care and treatment, early and appropriate medical management including antiviral therapy and regular monitoring for early diagnosis of chronic disease (WHO, 2014).

Some recommended antiviral drugs are; Penciclovir, Acyclovir, Valacyclovir, Famciclovir are the most effective medications available for people infected with HSV. These can help to reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms, but cannot cure the infection (WHO, 2014).

Since the disease is mostly asymptomatic in nature, there is need for proper awareness campaign to the public on the mode of transmission and predisposing factors and sign and symptoms of the disease is crucial for understanding of the epidemiology of HSV-2 and informing public health practice (Sacks et al., 2012).

More so, there is no vaccine as of now and there is no proper treatment for the infection, hence the general public should be properly screened, diagnosed and monitored at early stage and to ensure that they are free from this infection.

Justification

Awareness about the infection is low; hence this study tends to determine the prevalence of herpes simplex type-2 amongst commercial sex workers.

Many people have the infection but are not aware because it is asymptomatic until late in its cause.

Aim of the study

To determine the prevalence of HSV-2 amongst female commercial sex workers in Jos.

Specific objectives

  1. To determine the prevalence of HSV-2 in commercial workers in respect to age and sex.
  2. To determine the likely risk fac tors of HSV-2 infection in the commercial sex workers.
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