Background: Trichomonas vaginalis infection is the most prevalent non-viral sexually transmitted infection worldwide. Interactions between this infection and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may cause adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm labour, premature rupture of membranes, chorioamnionitis, low birth weight and post-abortal sepsis.
Aims: This study was aimed to determine the prevalence and risk factors of T. vaginalis infection amongst HIV-positive pregnant women attending antenatal care at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Lagos, Nigeria.
Subjects and methods: This was an analytical cross-sectional study in which 320 eligible participants which included 160 HIV-positive (case group) and 160 HIV-negative (control group) pregnant women were recruited at the antenatal clinic of LUTH. A structured pro forma was used to collect data from consenting participants after which high vaginal swabs were collected, processed and examined for T. vaginalis. The association between categorical variables was tested using the Chi-square test and Fisher's exact test where applicable. All significances were reported at P < 0.05.
Results: The prevalence of T. vaginalis infection amongst HIV-positive and HIV-negative pregnant women were 10% and 8.1%, respectively (P = 0.559). Significant risk factors for T. vaginalis infection in the HIV-positive pregnant women were early coitarche (P < 0.005) and multiple lifetime sexual partners (P = 0.021). There was no relationship between the T. vaginalis infection and the immunological markers of HIV infection.
Conclusions: While this study does not provide grounds for universal screening of pregnant women for T. vaginalis infection as a tool of reducing HIV acquisition, especially in pregnancy, campaign to create better sexual health awareness should be commenced as a way to contributing to the reduction in T. vaginalis infection during pregnancy and perinatal transmission of HIV.
Keywords: Coitarche; high vaginal swabs; perinatal transmission; sexually transmitted infection.