News / Africa

Common Infection Raises Female-to-Male HIV Risk

A Kenyan woman prepares ribbons ahead of World Aids Day at Beacon of Hope center, a non-government organization formed to address women's problem of HIV/AIDS in Nairobi (File)A Kenyan woman prepares ribbons ahead of World Aids Day at Beacon of Hope center, a non-government organization formed to address women's problem of HIV/AIDS in Nairobi (File)
x
A Kenyan woman prepares ribbons ahead of World Aids Day at Beacon of Hope center, a non-government organization formed to address women's problem of HIV/AIDS in Nairobi (File)
A Kenyan woman prepares ribbons ahead of World Aids Day at Beacon of Hope center, a non-government organization formed to address women's problem of HIV/AIDS in Nairobi (File)

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Joe DeCapua
A common bacterial infection among women in sub-Saharan Africa sharply increases the risk of HIV transmission to men. Researchers say current treatments provide only a short-term solution.

It’s long been known that bacterial vaginosis, or BV, increases a woman’s risk of getting HIV. Now, research shows an HIV positive women, who also has the bacterial infection, has a three-fold greater risk of transmitting the AIDS virus to her male partner.

“BV is a condition where the normal vaginal flora, which is predominately Lactobacilli, get replaced by abnormal vaginal flora, predominantly anaerobic bacteria. There’s a large number of species that are associated with BV. It’s not a single bacteria that causes BV, but it’s multiple numbers of these abnormal vaginal flora that replace normal vaginal flora,” said Dr. Craig Cohen, lead author of the story.

Cohen is professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California at San Francisco. He said women can be infected and not know it.

“Most women are asymptomatic. The most common symptom among those who do have symptoms is abnormal vaginal discharge, usually an increased vaginal discharge. Some women will complain of a smell or odor, especially after intercourse,” he said.

Despite the infection being so common in women, the cause still hasn’t been pinpointed.

“That we don’t know,” said Cohen, “and that’s one of the calls in the papers that we really need additional research. We know risk factors for BV, there are many, but we don’t know what actually causes it. It’s so common in Africa, for example, where in some populations between one-third and 50 percent of women live with this. It really beckons the question of what’s normal.”

There are a number of theories and hypotheses as to the cause. One is that the bacteria are transmitted to the man and cause inflammation, making him more susceptible to HIV transmission.

Cohen said there are treatments for bacterial vaginosis, but the effects don’t last very long.

“While they will reduce the symptoms in about 70 to 80 percent of women using metronidazole-- or otherwise known as Flagyl either orally or topically – within a 3 to 6 month period of time about 60 to 70 percent of women will actually have a recurrence of BV,” he said

Cohen and his fellow researchers said new treatments need to be developed. These include more effective drugs and possible use of probiotics or bacteria considered beneficial to people.

The study was published in the June 26 issue of PLos Medicine and was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid