OBJECTIVE: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is common in sexually active women, and in a large proportion the underlying aetiology is unknown. We evaluated partner circumcision status as a potential risk and hypothesised that women with uncircumcised partners were at increased risk for BV. METHODS: Retrospective audit of a partner study (272 heterosexual couples) conducted in Baltimore between 1990 and 1992. BV defined by clinical criteria and circumcision status of males was determined by physical examination. RESULTS: BV was diagnosed in 83 (30%) female partners; 75 (27%) males were uncircumcised. In males and females respectively, gonorrhoea was diagnosed in 20% and 16%, and chlamydia in 7% and 11%. In women with circumcised partners, 58/197 (29%) had BV compared with 25/75 (33%) with uncircumcised partners (p = 0.53). CONCLUSION: Women with uncircumcised current partners are not at increased risk for BV.