What has been linked to the development of bacterial vaginosis (BV)?

Updated: Oct 25, 2018
  • Author: Philippe H Girerd, MD; Chief Editor: Michel E Rivlin, MD  more...
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Answer

Although BV is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, sexual activity has been linked to development of this infection. Observations in support of this include the following: (1) incidence of BV increases with an increase in the number of recent and lifetime sexual partners, (2) a new sexual partner can be related to BV, and (3) male partners of women with BV may have urethral colonization by the same organism, but the male is asymptomatic. Evidence that does not support an exclusive sexually transmitted role of BV is its occurrence in virginal females and its colonization of the rectum in virginal boys and girls.

More recent studies indicated that BV is associated with changes in select soluble immune mediators, an increase in HIV target cells, and a reduction in endogenous antimicrobial activity, which may contribute to the increased risk of HIV acquisition. [7, 8]


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