Hormonal contraception and two common genital tract conditions appear to be among the risk factors for genital tract shedding of herpes simplex virus type 2 in women.
In a 12-month study of 330 women who were evaluated every 4 months, independent predictors of genital tract shedding of HSV-2 were HSV-2 seroconversion during the previous 4 months (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 3.0), bacterial vaginosis (adjusted OR 2.3), heavy colonization with group B streptococcus (adjusted OR 2.2), and the use of hormonal contraceptives (adjusted OR 1.8), according to Thomas L. Cherpes, M.D., and his colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh (Clin. Infect. Dis. 2005;40:1422ndash;8).
Because hormonal contraception is widespread, and bacterial vaginosis and vaginal group B streptococcus colonization are two of the most common genital conditions in women of reproductive age, the associations between these variables and increased genital tract shedding of HSV-2 is of concern.