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Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sexually Transmitted Diseases  >  Tracking the Hidden Epidemics 2000 (1999 data)
Tracking the Hidden Epidemics 2000

Trichomoniasis and Bacterial Vaginosis

Trichomoniasis, which affects both men and women, is caused by a microscopic parasite. While bacterial vaginosis is caused by an imbalance in the bacteria normally found in the vagina, and as such only affects women. Currently, there are no national surveillance data on trichomoniasis, bacterial vaginosis, and related vaginal infections, but these infections are among the most common conditions found in women in health care settings. While these diseases are treatable, untreated bacterial vaginosis is associated with pelvic inflammatory disease, and both trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis may increase the risk of HIV infection. In pregnant women, these diseases may also cause babies to be born prematurely or with low birth weights. However, the biomedical mechanisms for these outcomes are just beginning to be understood.

A Closer Look at Trichomoniasis and Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

An estimated five million cases of trichomoniasis occur each year in the United States (Cates, 1999).

Scientific studies suggest bacterial vaginosis is common in women of reproductive age. In the United States, as many as 16 percent of pregnant women have BV. This varies by race and ethnicity from six percent in Asians and nine percent in whites to 16 percent in Hispanics and 23 percent in African Americans (CDC, 2000).

Diagnoses of other vaginal infections-of which bacterial vaginosis is the most common cause-increased dramatically over the decade, but now have begun to decline. In 1997, more than three million women were diagnosed with vaginitis in private doctors' offices. Because these cases do not include women diagnosed in public health care settings or who are not diagnosed at all, these are minimum numbers of infection.

Page last modified: April 6, 2001
Page last reviewed: April 6, 2001 Historical Document

Content Source: Division of STD Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention