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Prevalence of Trichomonas vaginalis infection among young reproductive age women in India: implications for treatment and prevention

Purnima Madhivanan A B E , Melissa T. Bartman C , Lauren Pasutti C , Karl Krupp A , Anjali Arun A D , Arthur L. Reingold C and Jeffrey D. Klausner B

A Public Health Research Institute, 89/B, 2nd Cross, 2nd Main, Yadavgiri, Mysore 570020, Karnataka, India.

B San Francisco Department of Public Health, 1360 Mission Street, Suite 401, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA.

C University of California Berkeley, School of Public Health, 104 Haviland Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.

D Vikram Hospital, No. 46, Vivekananda Road, Yadavgiri, Mysore 570020, India.

E Corresponding author. Email:

Sexual Health 6(4) 339-344
Submitted: 6 April 2009  Accepted: 31 July 2009   Published: 13 November 2009


Background: Trichomonas vaginalis infection is the most common curable sexually transmissible infection (STI) worldwide. The present study describes the burden and correlates of T. vaginalis infection among young reproductive age women in Mysore, India. Methods: Between November 2005 and March 2006, sexually active women aged 15–30 years were recruited from low-income peri-urban and rural neighbourhoods of Mysore, India. Participants were interviewed and offered a physical examination and testing for T. vaginalis, bacterial vaginosis, vaginal candidiasis, Neisseria gonorrheoea and herpes simplex virus type-2 antibodies. Results: Of the 898 participating women, 76 had a T. vaginalis infection (8.5%, 95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 6.7–10.5%). Nearly all (98%) participants were married and most reported their spouse as their main sex partner. The mean age at marriage was 16.9 years (s.d. 2.9 years) and two-thirds of the sample reported having first sexual intercourse before the age of 19 years. Risk factors independently associated with T. vaginalis infection included early age at first intercourse (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 2.09; 95% CI: 1.09–4.00), concurrent bacterial vaginosis (OR 8.21; 95% CI: 4.30–15.66), vaginal candidiasis (OR 2.40; 95% CI: 1.48–3.89) and herpes simplex virus type-2 infection (OR 3.44; 95% CI: 1.97–6.02). Conclusion: The burden of T. vaginalis infection at 8.5% is relatively high among a community sample of young reproductive aged women. Because this infection increases the risk of HIV transmission and is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, there is a need for increased screening and treatment of this easily curable sexually transmissible infection in India.

Additional keywords: correlates, epidemiology, sexually transmissible diseases, women.


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