• STIs;
  • HIV;
  • sex workers;
  • behavioural risk factors;
  • socio-demographic factors;
  • Symptomatic women;
  • Madagascar

OBJECTIVES To examine sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and associated socio-demographic and behavioural factors in women seeking care for genital discharge syndrome in Antananarivo, Madagascar.

METHODS One thousand and sixty-six consecutive symptomatic women were interviewed and examined; bacterial vaginosis (BV), vulvovaginal candidiasis, trichomoniasis (TV), cervical infection (CI) due to chlamydial or gonococcal infections, and syphilis seroreactivity were determined by laboratory diagnosis. Associations between STIs and individual characteristics were evaluated using bivariate and logistic regression analyses.

RESULTS The prevalence of BV, TV, CI, and syphilis seroreactivity was, respectively, 85%, 16%, 49%, 16% in 94 prostitutes; 70%, 18%, 30%, 13% in 96 occasional sex traders; and 53%, 24%, 17%, and 4% in 876 general women. CI was independently and positively associated with a symptomatic partner, new sex partner in last 3 months, unfaithful partner, prostitution, joblessness and being < 25 years old. Syphilis was associated with low schooling, young age at coital debut, sex trading, and > 1 sex partner in the previous 3 months.

CONCLUSIONS These high STI rates and associated characteristics suggest the local vulnerability to rapid HIV spread and show the need for prevention efforts that involve youth, prostitutes, occasional sex traders, sex clients, and men who have concurrent sexual partnerships.