Pregnant women are more than twice as likely to contract HIV than women who are not pregnant, according to a study of 10,500 Ugandan women reported in the October 1 edition of The Lancet. The findings in the study--which factored in variables such as poverty and safer-sex practices--are similar to two previous studies conducted in Africa. The researchers are unclear why pregnancy boosts HIV infection risks, but they theorize that hormonal changes may make it easier for HIV to enter the body.
The common sexually transmitted disease bacterial vaginosis also appears to double HIV-infection risks among women, according to a study of 5,110 South African women reported in the October 15 edition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases. The treatable infection often goes undetected, putting women at a higher HIV risk without them being aware of it. The researchers say sexually active women should be routinely screened for the STD and treated if infected to help lower their HIV risk.