Strong associations between national prevalence of various STIs suggests sexual network connectivity is a common underpinning risk factor
If national peak Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevalence is positively associated with the prevalence of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) from before or early on in the HIV epidemics this would suggest common underlying drivers.
Pearson’s correlations were calculated between the prevalence of seven STIs at a country-level: chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis, syphilis, bacterial vaginosis, herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) and HIV.
The prevalence of all the STIs was highest in the sub-Saharan African region excluding chlamydia. The prevalence of all seven STIs were positively correlated excluding chlamydia. The correlations were strongest for HIV-HSV-2 (r = 0.85, P < 0.0001) and HSV-2-trichomoniasis (r = 0.82, P < 0.0001).
Our results of a generally positive association between the prevalences of a range of STIs suggests that higher prevalences were driven by common underlying determinants. We review different types of evidence which suggest that differential sexual connectivity is a plausible common determinant.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12879-017-2794-x
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