"More than half of the non-injecting drug users in the study were infected with HSV-2."
New York, June 28 - The herpes virus increases both susceptibility to and transmissibility of HIV infection, according to a new study.
Heterosexual intercourse is usually not very efficient for transmitting HIV, but the efficiency of heterosexual transmission nearly triples in the presence of herpes simplex virus type 2, (HSV-2), said lead author Don Des Jarlais, professor of psychiatry and preventive medicine at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in the US.
A person usually gets HSV-2 through sexual contact. HIV and its transmission has long been associated with injecting drug use, where hypodermic syringes are used to administer illicit drugs.
However, the new study showed that HIV infection among heterosexual non-injecting drug users in New York City has now surpassed HIV infection among persons who inject drugs.
More than half of the non-injecting drug users in the study were infected with HSV-2.
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.