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Sexual Health Sexual Health Society
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Bacterial vaginosis in female sex workers in Chennai, India

Shanmugasundaram Uma A , Pachamuthu Balakrishnan A E , Kailapuri G. Murugavel A , Aylur K. Srikrishnan A , Nagalingeswaran Kumarasamy A , Jebaraj A. Cecelia A , Santhanam Anand A , Kenneth H. Mayer B , David Celentano C , Sadras P. Thyagarajan D and Suniti Solomon A

A YRG Center for AIDS Research and Education, VHS, Taramani, Chennai-600113, India.

B Department of Medicine, Brown University/Miriam Hospital, Providence, RI, USA.

C Department of Epidemiology, John’s Hopkins University School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA.

D Department of Microbiology, Dr.A.L.M. PGIBMS, University of Madras, Taramani, Chennai-600113, India.

E Corresponding author. Email:

Sexual Health 2(4) 261-262
Submitted: 4 May 2005  Accepted: 23 September 2005   Published: 16 November 2005


Bacterial vaginosis (BV) causes obstetric and gynaecological complications and non-chlamydial/non-gonococcal pelvic inflammatory disease and has been shown to be associated with the risk of acquiring HIV and herpes simplex (HSV)-2 infections. This study investigated both the prevalence of BV and its association with STDs among 582 female sex workers living in Chennai, South India. Blood, vaginal and endocervical swabs were tested for HSV-2, HIV, Treponema pallidum, BV, Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoea and Trichomonas vaginalis. The vaginal swabs collected were Gram’s stained and analysed for BV by Nugent’s scoring criteria. Of the women studied, 45% (95% CI, 40.6–48.7) were positive, 39.5% (95% CI, 35.5–43.5) were negative and 16% (95% CI, 12.8–18.7) were intermediate for BV. Bacterial vaginosis positivity was directly related to concurrent infection with HSV-2 (RR 1.3, AR 12, P = 0.00), T. vaginalis (RR 1.5, AR 10, P = 0.01) T. pallidum (RR 2.8, AR 16, P = 0.00) and HIV (RR 4.1, AR 52, P = 0.01). Future studies are needed to focus on the risk factors for BV.


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