Impact of periodic presumptive treatment for bacterial vaginosis on the vaginal microbiome among women participating in the preventing vaginal infections trial.
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Background.: Evidence suggests that specific vaginal bacteria associated with bacterial vaginosis (BV) may increase the risk of adverse health outcomes in women. Among women participating in a randomized, double-blinded trial, we assessed the effect of periodic presumptive treatment (PPT) on detection of select vaginal bacteria. Methods.: High-risk women from the United States and Kenya with a recent vaginal infection received intravaginal metronidazole 750 mg plus miconazole 200 mg or placebo for 5 consecutive nights each month for 12 months. Vaginal fluid specimens were collected via polyester/polyethylene terephthalate swabs every other month and tested for bacteria, using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays targeting the 16S ribosomal RNA gene. The effect of PPT on bacterium detection was assessed among all participants and stratified by country. Results.: Of 234 women enrolled, 221 had specimens available for analysis. The proportion of follow-up visits with detectable quantities was lower in the PPT arm versus the placebo arm for the following bacteria: BVAB1, BVAB2, Atopobium vaginae, Leptotrichia/Sneathia, and Megasphaera. The magnitude of reductions was greater among Kenyan participants as compared to US participants. Conclusions.: Use of monthly PPT for 1 year reduced colonization with several bacteria strongly associated with BV. The role of PPT to improve vaginal health should be considered, and efforts to improve the impact of PPT regimens are warranted.
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