Factors associated with sexually transmitted infections among care-seeking adults in the African Cohort Study

for the AFRICOS Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objectives: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a major cause of morbidity. Understanding drivers of transmission can inform effective prevention programs. We describe STI prevalence and identify factors associated with STIs in four African countries. Methods: The African Cohort Study is an ongoing, prospective cohort in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. At enrollment, a physical exam was conducted and STI diagnosis made by a clinician using a syndromic management approach. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for factors associated with an STI diagnosis. Results: As of June 2020, 3544 participants were enrolled. STI prevalence was 7.7% and did not differ by HIV status (p = 0.30). Prevalence differed by syndrome (3.5% vaginal discharge, 1.5% genital ulcer, 2.1% lower abdominal pain, 0.2% inguinal bubo). The odds of having an STI were higher at all sites compared to Kisumu West, Kenya, and among those with a primary level education or below compared to those with secondary or higher (aOR: 1.77; 95% CI: 1.32–2.38). The odds of an STI diagnosis was higher among participants 18–29 years (aOR: 2.29; 95% CI: 1.35–3.87), females (aOR: 2.64; 95% CI: 1.94–3.59), and those with depression (aOR: 1.78; 95% CI: 1.32–2.38). Among PLWH, similar factors were independently associated with an STI diagnosis. Viral suppression was protective against STIs (aOR: 2.05; 95% CI: 1.32–3.20). Conclusions: Prevalence of STIs varied by site with young people and females most at risk for STIs. Mental health is a potential target area for intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number738
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • People living with HIV
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Sub-Saharan Africa


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