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Bull World Health Organ. 2002;80(3):180-8.

Reproductive tract infections: prevalence and risk factors in rural Bangladesh.

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Public Health Sciences Division, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Dhaka, Bangladesh.



To determine the prevalence of and risk factors for reproductive tract infections among men and women in a rural community in Bangladesh.


In the Matlab area a systematic sample of married non-pregnant women aged 15-50 years was drawn from a comprehensive household registration system for married women. A systematic sample of married and unmarried men in the same age group was drawn from a census-derived demographic surveillance list. Private interviews were conducted with 804 women in a clinic, and cervical, vaginal, urinary and serological samples were collected. Urine and blood specimens were obtained from 969 men who were interviewed at home.


The prevalence of bacterial and viral reproductive tract infections was low to moderate. For example, fewer than 1% of the women had a cervical infection. No cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection were found. However, among men there was a high level of reported risk behaviour and a low level of protection against infection.


A low prevalence of reproductive tract infections, coupled with a high level of reported risk behaviour, indicated a need for primary programmes that would prevent an increase in the incidence of reproductive tract infections, sexually transmitted infections and HIV infection.

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