Objectives: To investigate the prevalence and incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STI) in HIV-infected women in relation to time from infection and sexual behaviour.
Design: The European study on the natural history of HIV infection in women is a prospective cohort study of 487 HIV-infected women with a known interval of seroconversion from 12 European countries.
Methods: Incidence was measured with person–time methods. Generalized estimating equations analysis was used to determine risk factors for STI.
Results: At entry, 15% of the women were diagnosed with at least one acute STI (chlamydial infection, trichomoniasis or gonorrhoea), 10% with at least one other STI (genital warts or genital ulcerations) and 13% with vaginal candidiasis. Although frequently diagnosed during follow-up, the occurrence of acute STI and vaginal candidiasis decreased, whereas the occurrence of other STI increased with ongoing time from HIV infection. Furthermore, women with a history of prostitution [relative risk (RR), 2.00; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 1.20–3.33] and women with irregular condom use (RR, 7.74; 95% CI, 3.52–17.0) were at higher risk for an acute STI.
Conclusions: Although STI diagnoses were frequent, the occurrence of acute STI declined with time from infection which might be explained by changed sexual behaviour over time. The occurrence of other STI increased with time from HIV infection, presumably due to reactivation as a result of immunosuppression.