Pattern of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Risk Factors Among Women Attending an STD Referral Clinic in Nairobi, Kenya

Document Type



Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)


Background: In Kenya, sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics care for large numbers of patients with STD-related signs and symptoms. Yet, the etiologic fraction of the different STD pathogens remains to be determined, particularly in women.

Goal: The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of STDs and of cervical dysplasia and their risk markers among women attending the STD clinic in Nairobi.

Study Design: A cross-section of women were interviewed and examined; samples were taken.

Results: The mean age of 520 women was 26 years, 54% had a stable relationship, 38% were pregnant, 47% had ever used condoms (1% as a method of contraception), 11% reported multiple partners in the previous 3 months, and 32% had a history of STDs. The prevalence of STDs was 29% for HIV type 1, 35% for candidiasis, 25% for trichomoniasis, 16% for bacterial vaginosis, 6% for gonorrhea, 4% for chlamydia, 6% for a positive syphilis serology, 6% for genital warts, 12% for genital ulcers, and 13% for cervical dysplasia. Factors related to sexual behavior, especially the number of sex partners, were associated with several STDs. Gonorrhea, bacterial vaginosis, cervical dysplasia , and genital warts or ulcers were independently associated with HIV infection. Partners of circumcised men had less-prevalent HIV infection.

Conclusion: Most women reported low-risk sexual behavior and were likely to be infected by their regular partner. HIV and STD prevention campaigns will not have a significant impact if the transmission between partners is not addressed.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Sexually Transmitted Diseases