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Male partner circumcision associated with lower Trichomonas vaginalis incidence among pregnant and postpartum Kenyan women: a prospective cohort study


Objective Trichomonas vaginalis is the world's most common curable STI and has implications for reproductive health in women. We determined incidence and correlates of T. vaginalis in an HIV-uninfected peripartum cohort.

Methods Women participating in a prospective study of peripartum HIV acquisition in Western Kenya were enrolled during pregnancy and followed until 9 months post partum. T. vaginalis was assessed every 1–3 months using wet mount microscopy. Correlates of incident T. vaginalis were determined using Cox proportional hazards models.

Results Among 1271 women enrolled, median age was 22 years (IQR 19–27) and gestational age was 22 weeks (IQR 18–26); most (78%) were married and had uncircumcised male partners (69%). Prevalent T. vaginalis was detected in 81 women (6%) at enrolment. Among women without T. vaginalis at enrolment, 112 had T. vaginalis detected during 1079 person-years of follow-up (10.4 per 100 person-years). After adjustment for socio-economic factors, male partner circumcision status, pregnancy status and other STIs, T. vaginalis incidence was higher during pregnancy than post partum (22.3 vs 7.7 per 100 person-years, adjusted HR (aHR) 3.68, 95% CI 1.90 to 7.15, p<0.001). Women with circumcised male partners had a 58% lower risk of incident T. vaginalis compared with women with uncircumcised partners (aHR 0.42, 95% CI 0.23 to 0.76, p=0.004). Employed women had lower risk of incident T. vaginalis than unemployed women (aHR 0.49, 95% CI 0.31 to 0.79, p=0.003); recent STI was associated with increased T. vaginalis risk (aHR 2.97, 95% CI 1.49 to 5.94, p=0.002).

Conclusions T. vaginalis was relatively common in this peripartum cohort. Male circumcision may confer benefits in preventing T. vaginalis.

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