Prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (HIV, hepatitis B virus, herpes simplex virus type 2, and syphilis) in pregnant women in Ethiopia: Trends over 10 years (2005-2014)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


OBJECTIVES: This study was performed to determine the trends in seroprevalence of four major sexually transmitted infections (STIs) (HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV), herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), and syphilis) over a 10-year period (2005-2014) in pregnant women in Ethiopia.

METHODS: Pregnant women (15-49 years old) who were enrolled in the antenatal care-based national HIV surveillance were included. Serological tests for HIV, HBV, HSV-2, and syphilis were done on serum/plasma samples.

RESULTS: A total of 4887 pregnant women were included. Results showed a decline in prevalence of these STIs by 40-60% over the 10 years (2005-2014): HIV (10.5% to 5.5%), syphilis (2.5% to 1.1%), HBV (12.6% to 6.7%), and HSV-2 (47.5% to 28.5%). In 2014, 109/4887 (2.2%) women had triple infections. In 2005, 2007, and 2009, the prevalence of HSV-2 in the older age group (35-45 years) (47.1%, 47.4%, and 50.0%, respectively) was higher than that in the younger age group (15-24 years) (40.9%, 19.5%, and 20.2%, respectively). Age category (Chi-square=22.4, p<0.001), study sites/residence (Chi-square=135.2, p=0.001), and time/years (Chi-square=58.9, p=0.001) were associated with a positive HSV-2 test result.

CONCLUSIONS: A decline in HIV, HBV, HSV-2, and syphilis of >40% was seen over the years in Ethiopia. However, an intermediate endemicity level of HBV and higher prevalence of HIV and HSV-2 by 2014, suggest the need to strengthen prevention strategy for STIs.


  • Desta Kassa
  • Gebremedhin Gebremichael
  • Tesfaye Tilahun
  • Abenezer Ayalkebet
  • Yemane Abrha
  • Getnet Mesfin
  • Yohannes Belay
  • Minilik Demissie
  • Atsbeha Gebrexiabher
  • Yibeltal Assefa
External organisations
  • Ethiopian Public Health Institute
Research areas and keywords


  • Adolescent, Adult, Ethiopia/epidemiology, Female, HIV Infections/epidemiology, Hepatitis B/epidemiology, Herpes Genitalis/epidemiology, Herpesvirus 2, Human, Humans, Middle Aged, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/epidemiology, Prevalence, Seroepidemiologic Studies, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral/epidemiology, Syphilis/epidemiology, Young Adult
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-57
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes