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Open Access Research article

Prevalence and predictors of cervicitis in female sex workers in Peru: an observational study

Simon Pollett12*, Martha Calderon34, Kristen Heitzinger15, Vicky Solari4, Silvia M Montano13 and Joseph Zunt6

Author Affiliations

1 Bacteriology Department, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 6, Callao, Peru

2 Sydney Emerging Infections and Biosecurity Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

3 Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru

4 DIRESA Callao, Centro de Salud ‘Alberto Barton’, Lima, Peru

5 Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

6 Department of Global Health and Neurology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2013, 13:195  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-195

Published: 30 April 2013

Abstract

Background

Cervicitis is a syndrome of cervical inflammation and a common condition in female sex workers (FSW), a subpopulation vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections. Local data is essential for guiding syndromic management of cervicitis in FSW working in Peru. We sought to describe the prevalence and etiologies of cervicitis in this population. We also aimed to identify sociodemographic, behavioral and biological factors associated with cervicitis, including bacterial vaginosis (BV), a condition with a possible role in cervicitis.

Methods

FSW 18 years of age or older presenting to a free public sexual health clinic in Callao-Lima, Peru were eligible for inclusion upon consent. 467 participants completed a face-to-face questionnaire and underwent genital examination. Vaginal, endocervical and blood samples were collected and tested for C. trachomatis (CT), N. gonorrhea (GC), T. vaginalis (TV), BV, HIV and Human T-Cell Lymphotropic Virus −1. Logistic regression was used to determine whether sociodemographic, behavioral, or other sexual health related characteristics were associated with the diagnosis of cervicitis.

Results

Cervicitis was detected in 99 (24.9%) of 397 FSW. The presence of cervicitis was unable to be determined in 70 participants. In women with cervicitis, CT was present in 4.6% (4/87), TV in 4.0% (4/99), GC in 0% (0/87) and no pathogen was detected on cervical microbiology in 91.9% (91/99). BV was detected on vaginal microbiology in 36.9% (31/84) of cervicitis cases. BV was more common in women with cervicitis, however this association did not reach statistical significance (aOR = 1.47 [0.87, 2.48], p = 0.15). Other STI were not associated with cervicitis. Regular clinic attendance (aOR = 0.54 [0.34, 0.87], p = 0.01) and Ecuadorian nationality (aOR = 0.31 [0.13, 0.76], p = 0.01) were associated with reduced risk of cervicitis.

Conclusions

Cervicitis was common in FSW working Peru and was predominantly nongonococcal and non-chlamydial in etiology. Further study is warranted to clarify the role of BV and other emerging cervicitis pathogens in this population. The current Peruvian program of free health checks for FSW may be effective for reducing rates of cervicitis. The protective effect of Ecuadorian nationality prompts further study.

Keywords:
Cervicitis; FSW; Peru; Bacterial vaginosis; Sexually transmitted infection