Screening 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
Diagnostic microbiology and infectious disease. - Amsterdam
, 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.