Prevalence of herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 among children and adolescents attending a sexual abuse clinic

Stephanie Ramos, James L. Lukefahr, Rhoda Ashley Morrow, Lawrence R. Stanberry, Susan L. Rosenthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Children and adolescents with a history of sexual abuse are at risk for acquiring herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 2. We evaluated the prevalence of HSV-1 and HSV-2 and the usefulness for this population of 2 commercially available tests. METHODS: Sera from150 children seen in a sexual abuse clinic were analyzed for type-specific HSV antibodies using Focus HerpeSelect HSV-2 ELISA (Focus), Biokit HSV-2 Rapid Test (Biokit), and by Western blot (WB). RESULTS: The patient sample was 81% female, had a mean age of 11.6 years (range, 1 to 18 years), and was 46% Caucasian, 28% Hispanic, 25% African American, and 2% other. According to WB, 77 (51%) of the children were HSV-1 seropositive. For HSV-2, there was 1 "true positive" (positive by all 3 tests) and 1 patient whose serum had atypical HSV-2 bands by WB but was positive by Focus. There were 6 sera that were positive by Focus and negative by WB. Index values of these 6 Focus tests were not predictive of WB status. For the 105 samples for which Biokit data were available, all samples were concordant with WB. CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study suggest that routine screening for HSV-2 in sexually abused children does not have a high yield. The Focus test has an unacceptably high rate of false-positive results in children; however, Biokit may be an acceptable substitute for WB in evaluating children for HSV-2 antibodies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)902-905
Number of pages4
JournalPediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Genital herpes
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Serological screening
  • Sexual abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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