Trichomonas vaginalis is highly prevalent in adolescent girls, pregnant women, and commercial sex workers in Ndola, Zambia

Sex Transm Dis. 2010 Apr;37(4):223-7. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e3181c21f93.


Objectives: The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of Trichomonas sp. infection among adolescent girls, pregnant women, and commercial sex workers in Ndola, Zambia.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 460 girls attending school, 307 pregnant women, and 197 commercial sex workers. Self-collected specimens from the vagina, rectum, and mouth were tested by polymerase chain amplification assays for the presence of Trichomonas vaginalis, Pentatrichomonas hominis, and Trichomonas tenax. Genotyping was performed on specimens that tested positive for T. vaginalis.

Results: The prevalence of vaginal infection with T. vaginalis was 24.6% among the adolescents, 32.2% among the pregnant women, and 33.2% among the commercial sex workers. Trichomonads other than T. vaginalis were rarely found in the vagina, rectum, and mouth. The presence of T. vaginalis in the rectum was associated with T. vaginalis in the vagina. T. tenax was also detected in the vagina. A total of 9 actin genotypes of T. vaginalis were identified. The distribution of the actin genotypes of T. vaginalis was similar in the 3 study groups.

Conclusion: We detected high prevalence rates of trichomoniasis among women in Ndola, Zambia. Prevalence among adolescent girls was lower than among pregnant women and commercial sex workers but was still high. We were not able to detect differences in T. vaginalis actin genotypes among the 3 study groups.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mouth / pathology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / pathology
  • Prevalence
  • Rectum / pathology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sex Workers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Specimen Handling
  • Trichomonas Vaginitis / diagnosis
  • Trichomonas Vaginitis / epidemiology*
  • Trichomonas Vaginitis / pathology
  • Trichomonas vaginalis / isolation & purification*
  • Vagina / pathology
  • Vaginal Smears
  • Zambia / epidemiology