Sexual behavior risk factors associated with bacterial vaginosis and Chlamydia trachomatis infection

Sex Transm Dis. 1997 May;24(5):241-6. doi: 10.1097/00007435-199705000-00001.


Background and objectives: Few studies have demonstrated that bacterial vaginosis (BV) is associated with sexual behavior risk factors similar to those for other sexually transmitted diseases. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of these factors in a multivariate analysis of data from women infected with BV and Chlamydia trachomatis, and noninfected control subjects.

Goals: To study detailed sexual behavior risk factors reported by women with BV versus genital C. trachomatis infection (CT) and by non-BV-infected controls.

Study design: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 1,011 women (Swedish Women's Health Study) recruited from family planning and youth clinics in Eskilstuna and Stockholm, Sweden (November, 1989-January, 1991). Participants were evaluated for the presence of BV, CT, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Treponema pallidum, Trichomonas vaginalis, and human immunodeficiency virus, and interviewed in detail with respect to sexual behaviors. Statistical comparisons were made using chi-square test (Pearson and likelihood ratio), t test, and logistic regression multivariate analysis.

Results: Of 956 women eligible for analysis, the prevalence of BV and CT was 13.7% and 8.9%, respectively. The comparison group consisted of the remaining 825 women without BV. After excluding those with concomitant CT infection, there were 118 women with BV who were compared with 72 women with CT infection only. Sexual factors associated with BV versus the comparison group were a short-term relationship before and after sexual debut, high number of lifetime sexual partners, multiple partners during the last month, high orgasm ability, and more frequent history of group sex, sexual abuse, and rape. When the BV group was compared with the CT group, there were no significant differences in sexual activity risk factors, except for a higher frequency of experience of casual sex in the CT group.

Conclusions: Bacterial vaginosis is associated with sexual behavior risk factors similar to those associated with genital CT infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology
  • Chlamydia Infections / etiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Partners
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / epidemiology
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / etiology*