Background: Trichomoniasis vaginalis, the most prevalent nonviral sexually transmitted infection, is associated with negative reproductive outcomes and increased HIV transmission and may be overrepresented among African Americans.
Methods: A total of 135 African American women who used drugs were screened for Trichomonas vaginalis on > or =2 occasions between March 2003 and August 2005. Women were administered a structured questionnaire in a community-based research center, underwent serological testing for human immunodeficiency virus and herpes simplex virus type 2, and were screened for Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis.
Results: Fifty-one women (38%) screened positive for T. vaginalis at baseline. Twenty-nine (31%) of 95 women with negative results of baseline tests became infected, for an incidence of 35.1 cases per 100 person-years at risk (95% confidence interval [CI], 23.5-49.0). Prevalent infection was associated with drug use in the past 30 days, and incident infection was associated with sexual behavior in the past 30 days, namely having >1 male sex partner. Women who reported having >1 partner were 4 times as likely as women with fewer partners to acquire T. vaginalis (hazard ratio, 4.3; 95% CI, 2.0-9.4).
Conclusion: T. vaginalis may be endemic in this community of African American women. A control strategy that includes T. vaginalis screening in nonclinical settings and rapid point-of-care testing could contribute to the disruption of transmission of this pathogen.