Background: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common condition believed to be associated with sexually transmitted infection (STI) susceptibility. Most studies of BV and STIs have come from treatment-seeking or high-risk populations. This study examines the association between 5 viral STIs, human papilloma virus (HPV), HIV, herpes simplex viruses types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2), and Hepatitis C (HCV), and BV among women in the general US population.
Methods: Data from the 2001 and 2003–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys were combined. Crude and adjusted relative risks and 95% confidence intervals were estimated from logistic regression analyses for rare outcomes (<10%) and from Poisson regression with robust error variance for common outcomes. Complex survey design was taken into consideration using the survey functions in Stata.
Results: Crude analyses found an association between BV and the prevalence of all 5 STIs. After adjustment for important confounders, only HSV-1 and HSV-2 were significantly associated with the presence of BV. Moreover, crude analyses stratified by race/ethnicity suggested that associations between BV and viral STIs may not be consistent across race/ethnicity subgroups.
Conclusion: This population-based study found that BV was significantly associated with the prevalence of HSV-1 and HSV-2 and potentially associated with HIV and HPV. Given the frequency of BV in US women, small increases in STI susceptibility may have important impacts on STI transmission.