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Prevalence of HIV and other sexually transmissible infections in relation to lemon or lime juice douching among female sex workers in Jos, Nigeria

Godwin Imade A G , Atiene Sagay A , Daniel Egah B , Viola Onwuliri C , Matthew Grigg E , Christopher Egbodo A , Tom Thacher D , Malcolm Potts F and Roger Short E

A Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Jos, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria.

B Medical Microbiology, University of Jos, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria.

C Biochemistry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Jos, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria.

D Department of Family Medicine, Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Nigeria.

E Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.

F School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, USA.

G Corresponding author. Email:

Sexual Health 5(1) 55-60
Submitted: 27 June 2007  Accepted: 19 December 2007   Published: 22 February 2008


Background: The rates of sexually transmissible infections (STI), including HIV, are high among female sex workers (FSW) in Nigeria and the use of various local vaginal cleansing agents to prevent infection is a common practice. The present study was aimed at determining whether any association exists between current lime or lemon douching and the prevalence of STI and HIV infections among FSW in Jos, Nigeria. Methods: Consenting FSW who were users of lemon or lime (UL) or non-users (NUL) were recruited for the study between May and September 2006. A structured questionnaire was administered by trained counsellors. Pre-HIV test counselling was done. Participant’s blood samples were tested for HIV and syphilis. Genital examination was done and high vaginal and endocervical samples were collected. The samples obtained were processed for STI using standard laboratory procedures. FSW found with treatable STI received free drugs. HIV results were disclosed after post-test counselling and positive FSW were referred to a HIV/AIDS facility for care, support and antiretroviral therapy. Results: A total of 398 FSW (86 UL and 312 NUL) participated in the study. Their mean age was 27.6 ± 7.0 years (range 16–63 years). HIV prevalence was high for both UL and NUL: 48.8 and 48.2%, respectively (odds ratio 1.0; 95% confidence interval 0.6–1.2, P = 0.9427). The rates of bacterial vaginosis were not significantly higher in UL (UL 55.8%, NUL 44.0%, odds ratio 1.59, 95% confidence interval 0.96–2.65, P = 0.06). There were no associations between the use of citrus douching and other STI. Conclusion: There were no significant associations between the prevalence of STI and HIV and lime or lemon juice usage.


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