Bacterial vaginosis in HIV-positive and HIV-negative women

Research teams in the U.S. have been studying the health issues of women with or at high risk for HIV infection as part of a project called the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS, pronounced wise). Analyses of WIHS have produced many useful reports over the years. A recent WIHS analysis has focused on the diagnosis of BV in 3,730 women (964 without HIV and 2,766 with HIV). These women were monitored for about 11 years. Over the course of the study, 55% of HIV-negative and 47% of HIV-positive women were diagnosed with BV; this difference was statistically significant.  The researchers also found that 43% of women who were treated for BV had a recurrence within a year. This was not affected by HIV status.

The WIHS researchers noted that women in their study were “dissatisfied with current therapies” and they encouraged doctors caring for women with BV to consider the following possibilities:

  • home screening of BV (sending samples of vaginal fluid to a lab)
  • provision of antibiotics in advance of a recurrence of BV so that patients can “use when symptoms recur to  minimize delay arising from the need for a [visit to the doctor].”


Bacterial vaginosis—some research issues

—Sean R. Hosein


Massad LS, Evans CT, Kang R, et al. Correlates of bacterial vaginosis over long-term follow-up: Impact of human immunodeficiency virus infection. AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses. 2016; in press.