Non-sexual transmission of Trichomonas vaginalis in adolescent girls attending school in Ndola, Zambia

T Crucitti, V Jespers, C Mulenga, S Khondowe, J Vandepitte, A Buvé

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    OBJECTIVES: To identify risk factors for trichomoniasis among young women in Ndola, Zambia. METHOD: The study was a cross-sectional study among adolescent girls aged 13-16 years in Ndola, Zambia. Study participants were recruited from schools in selected administrative areas that represented the different socio-economic strata in town. Consenting participants were interviewed about their socio-demographic characteristics; sexual behaviour; and hygiene practices. Self-administered vaginal swabs were tested for Trichomonas vaginalis. HSV-2 antibodies were determined on serum to validate the self-reported sexual activity. RESULTS: A total of 460 girls participated in the study. The overall prevalence of trichomoniasis was 27.1%, 33.9% among girls who reported that they had ever had sex and 24.7% among virgins. In multivariate analysis the only statistically significant risk factor for trichomoniasis was inconsistent use of soap. For the virgins, none of the risk factors was significantly associated with trichomoniasis, but the association with use of soap (not always versus always) and type of toilet used (pit latrine/bush versus flush toilet) was of borderline significance. CONCLUSION: We found a high prevalence of trichomoniasis in girls in Ndola who reported that they had never had sex. We postulate that the high prevalence of trichomoniasis in virgins in Ndola is due to non-sexual transmission of trichomoniasis via shared bathing water and inconsistent use of soap.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere16310
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • B780-tropical-medicine
    • Protozoal diseases
    • Trichomoniasis
    • Trichomonas vaginalis
    • Prevalence
    • Risk groups
    • Schoolchildren
    • Adolescents
    • Risk factors
    • Sociodemographic aspects
    • Sexual behavior
    • Hygiene
    • Soap
    • Bathing
    • Vagina
    • Zambia
    • Africa-Southern


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