Background: The objective of this study is to determine the prevalence of blood donors positive for herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), to identify the patterns of sexual risk behavior responsible for HSV-2 positivity and to assess the reliability of HSV-2 positivity as a marker of sexual risk behavior in the study population.
Methods: This cross-sectional study included 423 blood donors of both sexes from eastern Croatia. Their blood samples were tested by ELISA IgG test kit for HSV-2 IgG and Western blot. Data on sexual risk behavior were collected by use of an anonymous questionnaire.
Results: Western blot testing showed HSV-2 IgG antibodies in 14 of 423 (3.3%) donor blood samples. The most common patterns of sexual risk behavior potentially associated with test positivity were irregular condom use during sexual intercourse with new partners (294/423; 69.5%) and 5 sexual partners during lifetime (213/423; 50.4%).
Conclusions: The population of blood donors from eastern Croatia included subgroups of subjects characterized by sexual risk behavior. Study results pointed to a relationship between various forms of sexual risk behavior and HSV-2 positivity, which could therefore serve as a reliable marker of sexual risk behavior in the study population.
DOI: Clin. Lab. 2012;58:19-25