Sexually transmitted infections in young pregnant women in Bangui, Central African Republic.Int J STD AIDS. 1999 Sep; 10(9):609-14.IJ
In early 1996, 481 women visiting the antenatal services of the 3 major governmental health centres in the capital city of the Central African Republic (CAR) were included in the study. All study participants underwent the health centre's routine gynaecological examination, including laboratory diagnosis of trichomoniasis, candidiasis, gonorrhoea, syphilis and bacterial vaginosis. Cervical secretions and blood samples from study participants were sent to the National STD Reference Centre for diagnosis of Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Candida albicans, Treponema pallidum, and HIV. Overall, 34% of the study women were diagnosed with at least one sexually transmitted infection (STI) (3.1% N. gonorrhoeae, 6.2% C. trachomatis, 9.9% T. vaginalis, 6.7% T. pallidum, 12.2% HIV-1). In addition, 29.1% of women were diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis and 46.6% with candidiasis. Only a small proportion of these women had sought treatment during the weeks before, despite the recognition of genital symptoms. Self-reported and health worker-recognized symptoms, signs and laboratory results exhibited only low sensitivities, specificities, and positive predictive values in the diagnosis of STIs. These findings confirm the high vulnerability of young African women to STIs and emphasize the need for specific control interventions which should include affordable and user-friendly services. Moreover, these results call for more effective quality control in case of laboratory-based STI control strategies and question the validity of syndromic STI management strategies in women attending antenatal care services in Africa.