Numerous prospective studies have demonstrated that bacterial vaginosis (BV) is associated with increased risk for acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, Trichomonas vaginalis, HSV-2, HPV, and HIV. Because unprotected sex is a risk factor for both BV and other genital tract infections, it has been difficult to determine whether BV mediates susceptibility to STIs. This presentation will examine the strength of the evidence, emphasising recent clinical trials and epidemiological studies. Additionally, we will explore advances in our understanding of mechanisms through which BV-associated bacteria could influence women’s susceptibility to other genital tract infections. Possible approaches for testing the hypothesis that BV increases the risk of STIs will be considered.
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