Resource Logo
CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

AFRICA: Bacterial Vaginosis Is Associated with Higher Risk of Female-to-Male Transmission of HIV


Science Codex (06.26.2013) Aids Weekly Plus

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an imbalance of naturally occurring vaginal micro-organisms caused by a decrease in normal helpful bacteria and an increase in harmful bacteria. BV increases women’s risks of acquiring HIV and other STDs as well as experiencing pre-term delivery. Also, HIV-infected women with BV might have higher levels and greater shedding of HIV from the cervix and vagina. Craig R. Cohen, MD, MPH, professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues investigated the association between BV and HIV transmission in a study of 2,236 HIV-infected women from seven African countries and their uninfected male partners. The researchers controlled for sociodemographic factors, sexual behavior, male circumcision, sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, and level of HIV in the blood of the HIV-infected women. Results showed that risk of female-to-male HIV transmission was three times higher for HIV-infected women with BV than for HIV-infected women without BV. Researchers could not account for the result. The researchers acknowledged the need for more research to improve BV diagnosis, and treatment to improve women’s health and decrease HIV transmission, especially in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa, which has both the world’s highest HIV burden and a high BV incidence. The full report, “Bacterial Vaginosis Associated with Increased Risk of Female-to-Male HIV-1 Transmission: A Prospective Cohort Analysis among African Couples,” was published in the journal PLoS Medicine (2012; 9(6): e1001251. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001251).


Copyright © 2013 -CDC Prevention News Update, Publisher. All rights reserved to Information, Inc., Bethesda, MD. The CDC National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention provides the following information as a public service only. Providing synopses of key scientific articles and lay media reports on HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis does not constitute CDC endorsement. This daily update also includes information from CDC and other government agencies, such as background on Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) articles, fact sheets, press releases and announcements. Reproduction of this text is encouraged; however, copies may not be sold, and the CDC HIV/STD/TB Prevention News Update should be cited as the source of the information. Contact the sources of the articles abstracted below for full texts of the articles.

Information in this article was accurate in July 31, 2013. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.