Objective: To determine the prevalence of and risk factors for reproductive tract infections among men and women in a rural community in Bangladesh.
Methods: In the Matlab area a systematic sample of married non-pregnant women aged 15-50 years was drawn from a comprehensive household registration system for married women. A systematic sample of married and unmarried men in the same age group was drawn from a census-derived demographic surveillance list. Private interviews were conducted with 804 women in a clinic, and cervical, vaginal, urinary and serological samples were collected. Urine and blood specimens were obtained from 969 men who were interviewed at home.
Findings: The prevalence of bacterial and viral reproductive tract infections was low to moderate. For example, fewer than 1% of the women had a cervical infection. No cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection were found. However, among men there was a high level of reported risk behaviour and a low level of protection against infection.
Conclusion: A low prevalence of reproductive tract infections, coupled with a high level of reported risk behaviour, indicated a need for primary programmes that would prevent an increase in the incidence of reproductive tract infections, sexually transmitted infections and HIV infection.