Epidemiology and Infection



Enzyme immunoassay for urogenital trichomoniasis as a marker of unsafe sexual behaviour


P. R. MASON a1a2c1, S. GREGSON a1, L. GWANZURA a2, P. CAPPUCCINELLI a3, P. RAPELLI a3 and P. L. FIORI a3
a1 Biomedical Research and Training Institute, Harare, Zimbabwe
a2 Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, University of Zimbabwe Medical School, Harare, Zimbabwe
a3 Department of Biomedical Sciences, Division of Experimental and Clinical Microbiology, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy

Abstract

Enzyme immunoassay (EIA) was used to detect antibodies to Trichomonas vaginalis in sera from Zimbabwe. The EIA showed a sensitivity of 95 and 94% when compared with vaginal swab culture among women attending a family planning clinic (FPC) and female commercial sex workers (CSW) respectively. The specificity was 85 and 77% in the two groups. Culture-negative FPC women were sub-divided into high risk or low risk of exposure to trichomoniasis. The seroprevalence was 10% (6/61) among low risk women, 21% (10/48) among high risk women and 23% (9/39) among culture negative CSW. The EIA was positive in 46% (18/39) men with genital discharge but only 5% (2/37) healthy blood donors. None of 31 sera from prepubescent children was positive. The EIA may be useful for community surveys of trichomoniasis. Because T. vaginalis is a common sexually transmitted disease, the test may indicate behaviour that increases the risk of STD transmission.

(Accepted July 26 2000)


Correspondence:
c1 Author for correspondence: Director General, Biomedical Research and Training Institute, PO Box CY1753 Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe.


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