Investigation of a suspected outbreak of vaginal trichomoniasis among female inmates

Sex Transm Dis. 1999 Jul;26(6):335-8. doi: 10.1097/00007435-199907000-00005.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Prisoners*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Trichomonas Vaginitis / epidemiology*
  • Trichomonas Vaginitis / parasitology
  • Trichomonas vaginalis / isolation & purification*