Background: Trichomonas vaginalis is the most prevalent curable sexually transmitted infection in the United States and may lead to preterm delivery, infertility, and increased HIV transmission. Incarcerated women may be at especially high risk for infection, although few studies have examined routine screening for Trichomonas infection in this population.
Methods: Women older than 18 years entering the Rhode Island Department of Corrections between September 2009 and May 2011 were recruited to participate. All women submitted a self-collected vaginal swab for APTIMA transcription-mediated amplification testing. Each participant completed a survey addressing demographics, symptoms, sexual behavior, and substance use by audio computer-assisted self-interview. Data analysis was completed using multivariate logistic regression in SAS.
Results: Data for 387 women were analyzed. The mean age was 30 years, 60% were white, 18% were Hispanic, 10% were black, and 12% had other race/ethnicity. Forty-four percent reported vaginal symptoms, and 77% reported illicit drug and/or heavy alcohol use in the 30 days before incarceration. The prevalence of Trichomonas was 14% by APTIMA. The strongest predictors of infection included black race (odds ratio [OR], 5.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.9–13.4; P < 0.01), more than 1 year since last Papanicolaou test (OR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.3–4.8; P < 0.01) and presence of vaginal symptoms (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.2–4.7; P = 0.02).
Conclusions: Trichomonas infection is common in incarcerated women, especially among black women, women with vaginal symptoms, and those not receiving routine gynecologic care. Screening for Trichomonas infection in high-risk populations, particularly if using highly sensitive methods such as transcription-mediated amplification, may lead to increased detection and treatment.