Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common cause of abnormal vaginal discharge among women of childbearing age and is associated with STI/HIV and adverse birth outcomes. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and correlates of BV among young women of reproductive age in Mysore, India.
Between October 2005 and December 2006, 898 sexually active women of 15–30 years of age were enrolled from two reproductive health clinics in Mysore. The women underwent an interview followed by physical examination, HSV-2 serologic testing, endocervical culture for Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and vaginal swabs for diagnosis of BV, Trichomonas vaginalis infection and candidiasis. Statistical analyses included conventional descriptive statistics and multivariable analysis using logistic regression.
Of the 898 women, 391 (43.5%) were diagnosed with ≥1 endogenous reproductive tract infection and 157 (17.4%) with ≥1 sexually transmitted infection. Only 863 women had Gram-stained vaginal smears available, out of which 165 (19.1, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 16.3%–22.2%) were found to have BV and 133 (15.4, 95% CI: 12.9%–18.3%) were in the ‘intermediate’ stage. BV was related to concurrent infections with T. vaginalis (odds ratio [OR] = 4.07, 95% CI: 2.45–6.72) and HSV-2 seropositivity (OR = 2.22, 95% CI: 1.39–3.53).
In this population, the prevalence of BV at 19% was relatively low. Coinfection with T. vaginalis, however, was common. BV was independently associated with concurrent T. vaginalis infection and partner’s alcohol use. Muslim women had reduced odds of BV as compared to non-Muslim women. Further research is needed to understand the role of T. vaginalis infection in the pathogenesis of BV and the sociocultural context surrounding the condition in India.