Screening for abnormal vaginal microflora by self-assessed vaginal pH does not enable detection of sexually transmitted infections in Ugandan womenScreening for abnormal vaginal microflora by self-assessed vaginal pH does not enable detection of sexually transmitted infections in Ugandan women
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Antwerp Surgical Training, Anatomy and Research Centre (ASTARC)
Diagnostic microbiology and infectious disease. - Amsterdam
85(2016):2, p. 227-230
University of Antwerp
Objective: Is self-assessed vaginal pH measurement to detect abnormal vaginal bacterial microflora (AVF) an adequate prescreening method for detection of genital sexually transmitted infections (STIs)? Materials and methods: A total of 360 Ugandan women tested themselves with a gloved finger and a pH color strip. PCR for bacterial vaginosis (BV)-associated bacteria was tested by PCR for Mycoplasma hominis, Ureaplasma urealyticum, and/or Atopobium vaginae, while the STIs were diagnosed by positive PCR for Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Mycoplasma genitalium, and/or Trichomonas vaginalis. Results: A strong correlation was found between self-assessed pH values and BV-associated bacteria (P < 0.0001), but not with STIs, not as single infections, nor in general. Conclusion: Self-measured vaginal pH correlated well with markers of high-risk microflora types such as BV or aerobic vaginitis, but not with STIs. Hence, in a screening program addressing AVF in low-resource countries, extra specific tests are required to exclude STIs. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.