Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Prevalence of HIV, Herpes Simplex Virus-2, and Syphilis in male sex partners of pregnant women in Peru

Jesse L Clark1*, Kelika A Konda1, Cesar V Munayco2, Monica Pún2, Andres G Lescano3, Segundo R Leon3, Jose Pajuelo3, Luis Suarez-Ognio2, Jeffrey D Klausner4, Thomas J Coates1 and Carlos F Cáceres3

Author Affiliations

1 University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA

2 Dirección General de Epidemiología, Lima, Peru

3 Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia: Lima, Peru

4 San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, California, USA

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BMC Public Health 2008, 8:65  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-65

Published: 19 February 2008



Sexually active heterosexual men may represent an important risk factor for HIV infection and STI transmission to their female partners and unborn children, though little is known about the prevalence of STIs in this population. We sought to determine the prevalence of HIV, herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), and syphilis infection and associated risk behaviors among male sex partners of pregnant women in Peru.


Survey and seroprevalence data were collected from 1,835 male partners of pregnant women in four cities in Peru. Serum was tested for antibodies to HIV, HSV-2, and syphilis.


Among the 1,835 male participants, HIV prevalence was 0.8% (95% CI = 0.5–1.4%), HSV-2 16.0% (95% CI = 14.3–17.8%), and syphilis 1.6% (95% CI = 1.0–2.2%). Additionally, 11.0% reported a lifetime history of intercourse with men, and 37.1% with female sex workers. Unprotected intercourse with men during the previous year was reported by 0.9% and with female sex workers by 1.2%.


Pregnant women's sex partners reported lifetime sexual contact with core risk groups, had an elevated prevalence of HSV-2, and demonstrated the potential to spread HIV and other STIs to their partners. Though the prevalence of HIV in the population was not significantly higher than observed in other samples of heterosexuals in Peru, the risk of HIV transmission to their female partners may be exacerbated by their increased prevalence of HSV-2 infection. Further study of heterosexual populations is necessary to fully understand the epidemiology of HIV/STIs in Latin America.