By Molly Walker / MedPage Today
Certain types of vaginal bacteria were associated with an increased risk of HIV infection among women, a nested case-control study of African women found.
Out of 20 taxa examined via bacterium-specific real-time polymerase chain reaction testing, seven showed significant links between the quantity of these bacteria and the risk of HIV infection, reported lead authors of the study; Jairam Lingappa, MD, PhD, Professor of Global Health, Principal Investigator at the UW International Clinical Research Center (ICRC), and Scott McClelland, MD, MPH, Professor of Global Health, Associate Director of the UW/Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) International Core in Seattle, and colleagues; writing in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
A total of 56% of new HIV infections in Africa in 2015 were in women, the researchers noted. Bacterial vaginosis, an infection resulting from overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina, may be contributing to HIV transmission and the "disproportionate burden" of HIV infection in these women, but the association between specific bacteria that underlie the association between bacterial vaginosis and HIV infection is still "poorly understood," the team explained.