Table of Contents
Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Volume 2016, Article ID 5959032, 6 pages
Research Article

Strong Country Level Correlation between Syphilis and HSV-2 Prevalence

1HIV/STI Unit, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nationalestraat 155, Antwerp, Belgium
2Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine, University of Cape Town, Anzio Road, Observatory, Cape Town 7700, South Africa
3Clinical Trials Unit, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium

Received 13 November 2015; Accepted 7 February 2016

Academic Editor: Vincent C. Marconi

Copyright © 2016 Chris Richard Kenyon et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Syphilis is curable but Herpes Simplex Virus-2 (HSV-2) is not. As a result, the prevalence of syphilis but not HSV-2 may be influenced by the efficacy of national STI screening and treatment capacity. If the prevalence of syphilis and HSV-2 is found to be correlated, then this makes it more likely that something other than differential STI treatment is responsible for variations in the prevalence of both HSV-2 and syphilis. Methods. Simple linear regression was used to evaluate the relationship between national antenatal syphilis prevalence and HSV-2 prevalence in women in two time periods: 1990–1999 and 2008. Adjustments were performed for the laboratory syphilis testing algorithm used and the prevalence of circumcision. Results. The prevalence of syphilis was positively correlated with that of HSV-2 for both time periods (adjusted correlations, 20–24-year-olds: 1990–99: , ; 2008: , and 40–44-year-olds: 1990–99: , ; 2008: , ). Conclusion. The prevalence of syphilis and HSV-2 is positively correlated. This could be due to a common set of risk factors underpinning both STIs.