Background and objectives: Female inmates have high rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and many incarcerated women and jail providers believe STDs are acquired within the jail. We investigated a suspected outbreak of trichomoniasis among female inmates and described the epidemiology of trichomonas infection.
Goals of this study: To determine the likelihood of within-jail acquisition of trichomoniasis.
Study design: Retrospective chart review of gynecologic visits to the jail medical clinic and comparison of trichomoniasis surveillance data over a 6-year time period.
Results: The minimum prevalence of trichomoniasis infection among 450 female inmates presenting to the medical clinic for gynecologic evaluation was 37%. Most infections were diagnosed early after incarceration, no woman developed a new infection after adequate treatment, and there was no clustering of cases by time or location.
Conclusion: There was no evidence to support within-jail acquisition of trichomoniasis. The high rate of trichomoniasis and other STDs among incarcerated women warrant more comprehensive jail-based STD screening programs.