Prevalence of sexually transmitted infections among pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in West Coast Region of The Gambia
Background: Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) are the second most common cause of healthy life years lost by women in the 15 – 44 years age group in Africa.
Aim/Objective: To determine the prevalence of STIs among pregnant women attending antenatal care (ANC) clinics in the West Coast Region of The Gambia.
Materials and Methods: Blood, urine, and high vaginal swabs samples from 280 pregnant women attending ANC in Brika- ma District Hospital, Brikama, and Bandung Maternity and Child Health Hospital, Bandung were examined. Serum samples were tested for HIV using western blot technique and for syphilis using the Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) test, and rapid plasma regimen. Candida albicans, Group B Streptococcus and Neisseria gonorrhoea were identified using Analytical Profile Index (API). Direct urine microscopy was used to identify C. albicans and Trichomonas vaginalis while Chlamydia trachomatis was identified using Direct Fluorescent Antibody (DFA) test.
Results: The overall prevalence of STIs was 53.6%. The pathogenic agents isolated were Candida albicans (31.8%), Strep- tococcus agalactiae (15.0%), Treponema pallidum (6.8%), HIV (5.7%), Trichomonas vaginalis (3.9%), Neisseria gonorrhoea (1.8%) and Chlamydia trachomatis (0.7%). STIs were more prevalent among women in the younger age group of 15 – 24 years (54.7%), unemployed (54.0%), Primipara (62.3%), and in the third trimester of pregnancy (72.7%).
Conclusion: A high prevalence of STIs was found among pregnant women attending ANC in the West Coast region of The Gambia. Public health intervention programmes should be strengthened to promote the sexual and reproductive health of pregnant women in The Gambia.
Keywords: Sexually transmitted infections; pregnant women; antenatal clinics; The Gambia.
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