South African Medical Journal

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Prevalence of vaginitis, syphilis and HIV infection in women in the Orange Free State

H.S. Cronje, G Joubert, A Muir, R.D. Chapman, P Divan, R.H. Bam


Objective. To determine the prevalence of vaginitis, syphilis and HIV infection in women in the Orange Free State.

Method. By cluster sampling, 120 rural (farm) and 120 urban (local authority) clusters, each containing 4 women, were selected. Women aged 18 - 49 years who were included in the study had a cervical smear taken for cytological evaluation and blood specimens drawn for syphilis and HIV testing; they were questioned on their knowledge of AIDS.

Results. Trichomonas vaginalis vaginitis was present in 27,4% of the rural women and 29,6% of the urban women, Gardnerella vaginalis in 7,2% and 8,4% and Candida spp. in 2,6% and 6,7% respectively. Syphilis serology was positive in 12% of rural and 16% of urban women. HIV was present in 0,4% of rural and 1,5% of urban women. Ninety per cent of urban women and 74% of rural women knew AIDS was a sexually transmitted disease.

Conclusions. The prevalences of trichomonas vaginitis and syphilis were unusually high, while HIV positivity was similar to that in other reports in South Africa.

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