Prevalence of bacterial vaginosis: 2001-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data

Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Jan;109(1):114-20. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000247627.84791.91.


Objective: To estimate the prevalence and correlates of bacterial vaginosis among women between the ages of 14 and 49 years in the United States.

Methods: Data from the 2001-2001 and 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys were combined. Correlates of bacterial vaginosis evaluated included sociodemographic characteristics (age, race or ethnicity, education, poverty income ratio) and sexual history (age of first intercourse, number of sexual partners). Crude and adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were estimated from logistic regression analyses.

Results: Almost one third of women (29%) were positive for bacterial vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis prevalence varied with age, race or ethnicity, education, and poverty. Black, non-Hispanic (odds ratio [OR] 3.13, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.58-3.80) and Mexican-American (OR 1.29, 95% CI 0.99-1.69) women had higher odds of bacterial vaginosis than white, non-Hispanic women after adjustment for other sociodemographic characteristics. Douching in the past 6 months was also an important predictor of bacterial vaginosis prevalence (OR 1.93, 95% CI 1.54-2.40).

Conclusion: Bacterial vaginosis is a common condition among U.S. women, and the prevalence is similar to that in many treatment-seeking populations. Further studies are needed to disentangle the interactions between race or ethnicity and other sociodemographic characteristics.

Level of evidence: III.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Prevalence
  • Reproductive History
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / epidemiology*
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / ethnology