Molecular Diagnosis of Bacterial Vaginosis: an Update

J Clin Microbiol. 2018 Aug 27;56(9):e00342-18. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00342-18. Print 2018 Sep.


Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common cause of vaginal discharge in reproductive-age women. BV has been associated with poor reproductive outcomes such as preterm delivery, the acquisition of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and pelvic inflammatory disease. BV represents the acquisition of a diverse community of anaerobic and facultative bacteria and a reduction in lactobacilli. It can be diagnosed using several tests ranging from clinical indicators, point-of-care tests, and molecular assays. Molecular technologies are objective, are able to detect fastidious bacteria, enable quantitation, and are ideal for self-collected vaginal swabs. This paper reviews the currently available BV diagnostic tests in the United States.

Keywords: bacterial vaginosis; real-time PCR; vaginal flora.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Bacteriological Techniques* / standards
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques*
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic
  • Vagina / microbiology
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / diagnosis*
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / microbiology


  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic