Rosenberg M, Pettifor A, Lippman SA, Thirumurthy H, Emch M, Miller WC, Selin A, Gomez-Olive FX, Hughes JP, Laeyendecker O, Tollman S, Kahn K. Relationship between community-level alcohol outlet accessibility and individual-level herpes simplex virus type 2 infection among young women in South Africa. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 2015, 42: 259-65. PMC4436694
BACKGROUND: Exposure to alcohol outlets may influence sexual health outcomes at the individual and community levels. Visiting alcohol outlets facilitates alcohol consumption and exposes patrons to a risky environment and network of potential partners, whereas the presence of alcohol outlets in the community may shift social acceptance of riskier behavior. We hypothesize that living in communities with more alcohol outlets is associated with increased sexual risk. METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional analysis in a sample of 2174 South African schoolgirls (ages 13-21 years) living across 24 villages in the rural Agincourt subdistrict, underpinned by long-term health and sociodemographic surveillance. To examine the association between number of alcohol outlets in village of residence and individual-level prevalent herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infection, we used generalized estimating equations with logit links, adjusting for individual- and village-level covariates. RESULTS: The median number of alcohol outlets per village was 3 (range, 0-7). Herpes simplex virus type 2 prevalence increased from villages with no outlets (1.4% [95% confidence interval, 0.2-12.1]), to villages with 1 to 4 outlets (4.5% [3.7-5.5]), and to villages with more than 4 outlets (6.3% [5.6, 7.1]). An increase of 1 alcohol outlet per village was associated with an 11% increase in the odds of HSV-2 infection (adjusted odds ratio [95% confidence interval], 1.11 [0.98-1.25]). CONCLUSIONS: Living in villages with more alcohol outlets was associated with increased prevalence of HSV-2 infection in young women. Structural interventions and sexual health screenings targeting villages with extensive alcohol outlet environments could help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections.