Vaginosis treatment provides only modest protection against STDs

August 1, 2007

Women with bacterial vaginosis (BV) who are treated with an intravaginal metronidazole gel may be less likely than other women to develop a sexually transmitted disease, although the protection dissipates when treatment ends, according to the findings of a prospective study published in the June issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Women with bacterial vaginosis (BV) who are treated with an intravaginal metronidazole gel may be less likely than other women to develop a sexually transmitted disease, although the protection dissipates when treatment ends, according to the findings of a prospective study published in the June issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Jane Schwebke, MD, and Rene Desmond, PhD, randomized 107 black women with asymptomatic BV to treatment with the vaginal gel at bedtime for 5 days, followed by twice weekly treatments for 6 months, or observation only. At 6 months, 52.8% of women using gel remained in the study, compared with 48.1% of the observational group.

The median time for development of an STD such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, or trichomonas was 94 days in the observational group and 138 days in the group undergoing treatment. After the intervention ended, there was no difference in STD rates between the groups at months 7 through 12.

Schwebke JR Desmond R. A randomized trial of metronidazole in asymptomatic bacterial vaginosis to prevent the acquisition of sexually transmitted diseases. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007;196:517.e1-.e6.