Background: There have been few population-based studies of the seroprevalence and correlates of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2) in Japan. Methods: We enrolled a total of 1244 adults, aged 18-59 years, from a population-based cohort in southern Japan, and tested their serum samples using an ELISA kit containing HSV type-specific antigens to glycoproteins G1 and G2. Results: The seroprevalence of HSV-1 and HSV-2 was 55.4% and 7.4% in men and 63.3% and 9.3% in women, respectively. Overall, 4 percent of the participants (2.3% of men and 5.0% of women) were co-infected with HSV-1 and HSV-2. The seroprevalences of both HSV-1 and HSV-2 increased with age in both sexes, and were always higher among women than among men in each age bracket. The prevalence of HSV-2 infection among HSV-1 infected individuals was lower than that among uninfected individuals, both in men and women. Male current drinkers, and male and female current smokers, were more likely to be infected with HSV-1 and HSV-2, as compared to never drinkers and never smokers, respectively. Conclusion: It is hoped that the estimates produced in this study will help in understanding the burden of these infections in Japan.
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