Background: Vaginal HIV-1 shedding has been associated with Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) infection and could play a role in HIV transmission. The purpose of the study was to examine if effective TV treatment reduces the presence of vaginal HIV-1 RNA.
Methods: TV+ women attending an HIV outpatient clinic in New Orleans, LA, who resolved infection (n = 58) and TV-negative controls (n = 92), matched on antiretroviral therapy (ART) were examined and interviewed at baseline, 1, and 3 months. TV status was tested by culture and the amount of cell free HIV-1 RNA in the vaginal fluids was determined by the Amplicor HIV-1 Monitor ultrasensitive assay.
Results: : Most women (81.3%) were black and the mean age was 37.5 (SD 8.7). At baseline, 46.0% had plasma HIV-1 RNA >/=10,000 copies/mL, 26.4% had CD4<200 cells/muL, 54.7% were taking ART, and only 26.0% had detectable HIV-1 RNA in their vaginal fluids. TV-positive women who were effectively treated for TV were less likely to shed HIV vaginally at 3-months post-treatment compared to baseline (R.R. 0.34, 95% CI: 0.12-0.92, P = 0.03), whereas there was no change for TV-negative women.
Conclusion: This study provides additional support that reducing TV infection among HIV-positive women may have an impact on the prevention of HIV transmission. Reasons for the delayed treatment effect and the effect on cervical shedding need further investigation.