Prevalence of Curable Sexually Transmitted Infections in Pregnant Women in Low- and Middle-Income Countries From 2010 to 2015: A Systematic Review

Sex Transm Dis. 2016 Jul;43(7):450-8. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000460.


Background: Current literature comparing the prevalence rates of curable sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in pregnant women in various global regions is limited. As a result, antenatal screening practices for curable STIs in pregnant women, specifically Treponema pallidum (syphilis), Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG), Chlamydia trachomatis (CT), and Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) vary around the world, differing by country and particular STI.

Methods: We conducted a systematic review of publications on STI prevalence among pregnant women in 30 different low- and middle-income countries. We searched PubMed for studies reporting prevalence of syphilis, CT, NG, and TV in pregnant women. English language studies published between January 1, 2010, and March 1, 2015, were included. The adjusted mean STI prevalence by region was calculated via multivariable linear regression adjusting for health care setting, women's mean age, study sample size, and sensitivity of diagnostic test.

Results: We identified 75 studies that met inclusion criteria, providing 116 point prevalence estimates for curable STIs among 3,489,621 pregnant women. Adjusted mean prevalence for NG ranged from 1.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0-1.3) in Latin America to 4.6% (95% CI, 4.0-5.2) in Southern Africa; syphilis prevalence ranged from 1.1% (95% CI, 0.5-1.6) in Asia to 6.5% (95% CI, 4.7-6.3) in Southern Africa; CT ranged from 0.8% (95% CI, 0.4-1.1) in Asia to 11.2% (95% CI, 6.0-16.4) in Latin America; and TV ranged from 3.9% (95% CI, 2.2-5.6) in Latin America to 24.6% (95% CI, 17.9-31.4) in Southern Africa.

Conclusions: Although we observed a wide variation in STI burden in pregnancy after adjusting for age, test, and health care setting, further valid comparison may depend on adjustment for access to care and screening practices.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa / epidemiology
  • Asia / epidemiology
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology*
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Gonorrhea / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Latin America / epidemiology
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / isolation & purification
  • Poverty
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Syphilis / epidemiology*
  • Treponema pallidum / isolation & purification
  • Trichomonas Vaginitis / epidemiology*
  • Trichomonas vaginalis / isolation & purification
  • Young Adult