Enzyme immunoassay for urogenital trichomoniasis as a marker of unsafe sexual behaviour

Epidemiol Infect. 2001 Feb;126(1):103-9.


Enzyme immunoassay (EIA) was used to detect antibodies to Trichomonas vaginalis in sera from Zimbabwe. The EIA showed a sensitivity of 95 and 94% when compared with vaginal swab culture among women attending a family planning clinic (FPC) and female commercial sex workers (CSW) respectively. The specificity was 85 and 77% in the two groups. Culture-negative FPC women were sub-divided into high risk or low risk of exposure to trichomoniasis. The seroprevalence was 10% (6/61) among low risk women, 21% (10/48) among high risk women and 23% (9/39) among culture negative CSW. The EIA was positive in 46% (18/39) men with genital discharge but only 5% (2/37) healthy blood donors. None of 31 sera from prepubescent children was positive. The EIA may be useful for community surveys of trichomoniasis. Because T. vaginalis is a common sexually transmitted disease, the test may indicate behaviour that increases the risk of STD transmission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / analysis*
  • Biomarkers
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques / methods
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Sex Work
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Trichomonas Infections / diagnosis*
  • Trichomonas Infections / transmission
  • Trichomonas vaginalis / isolation & purification
  • Urogenital System / parasitology*
  • Vagina / parasitology
  • Zimbabwe


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Biomarkers