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BMC Infect Dis. 2010 May 21;10:127. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-10-127.

The burden and risk factors of Sexually Transmitted Infections and Reproductive Tract Infections among pregnant women in Zimbabwe.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe. enkurewa@hotmail.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and Reproductive tract infections (RTIs) are responsible for high morbidity among women. We aim to quantify the magnitude of the burden and risk factors of STI/RTI s among pregnant women in Zimbabwe.

METHODS:

A cross sectional study of pregnant women enrolled at 36 weeks of gestation from the national PMTCT program. Study was conducted from three peri-urban clinics around Harare Zimbabwe offering maternal and child health services.

RESULTS:

A total of 691 pregnant women were enrolled. Prevalence of HSV was (51.1%), HIV (25.6%) syphilis (1.2%), Trichomonas vaginalis (11.8%), bacterial vaginosis (32.6%) and Candidiasis (39.9%). Seven percent of the women had genital warts, 3% had genital ulcers and 28% had an abnormal vaginal discharge. Prevalence of serological STIs and vaginal infections were 51% and 64% respectively. Risk factors for a positive serologic STI were increasing age above 30 years, polygamy and multigravid; adjusted OR (95% CI) 2.61(1.49-4.59), 2.16(1.06-4.39), 3.89(1.27-11.98) respectively, partner taking alcohol and number of lifetime sexual partners. For vaginal infections it was age at sexual debut; OR (95% CI) 1.60(1.06-2.42). More than 25% of the women reported previous STI treatment. Fifty two percent reported ever use of condoms and 65% were on oral contraceptives. Mean age gap for sexual partners was 6.3 years older.

CONCLUSIONS:

There is a high morbidity of STI/RTIs in this cohort. There is need to continuously screen, counsel, treat and monitor trends of STI/RTIs to assess if behaviour changes lead to reduction in infections and their sustainability.

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