Bacterial vaginosis in lesbians: A sexually transmitted disease

Barbara J. Berger, Shelley Kolton, Jonathan M. Zenilman, Marinella C. Cummings, Joseph Feldman, William M. Mc Cormack

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Sexual transmission of bacterial vaginosis(BV), a common syndrome in sexually active women, has not been previouslyestablished.Becauseno male counterpart for BVhas been found, a population of lesbians is an ideal one in which to test the hypothesis that BVis sexually transmitted. We studied 103 homosexualwomen (lesbians) who sought gynecologic care at a community clinic and in a private gynecology practice in New York City. Participants were asked to refer their sexual partners for evaluation. In this cross-sectional prevalence study, all participants were evaluated for the presence of BV, and pairs of monogamous sexual partners were analyzed for concordance of their vaginal secretions.Twenty-nine(28.7%) of the 101 participants from whomsatisfactoryvaginal wash samples were available had BV. There were 21 pairs of monogamous partners. Of 11 index women who had BV, eight (72.7%) had partners who also had BV. Of 10 index women who did not have BV, only one (10%) had a partner with BV. The likelihood of a partner’s having BV was 19.7 times greater if the index case had BV(P ≥.008; 95% CI, 2.1–588.0). We conclude that with respect to BV, lesbians in monogamous relationships usually have concordant vaginal secretions. This concordance probably reflects the sexual transmission of BV between lesbians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1402-1405
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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