BLT/Schistosomiasis Study

Malawi 8 crop 2Female Genital Schistosomiasis, HIV and Infertility among Rural Malawian Women

(Principal Investigator: Dr. Abigail Norris Turner)

Background:
Nearly 250 million people worldwide have schistosomiasis, a neglected tropical infection caused by Schistosoma parasites. People become infected with schistosomiasis by walking or swimming in contaminated water sources when they farm, fish or bathe. Schistosomiasis can damage the reproductive tract, due to the millions of eggs deposited by the parasites over time. Some data suggest that women with schistosomiasis may have increased risk of experiencing HIV and infertility, compared to women without schistosomiasis. However, these links have not been clearly established.

Purpose:
Each week, ~25% of women who come for care at the McGuire Wellness Center (MWC) have reproductive system complaints, but the specific infections causing these complaints have not been measured before now. The Bwenzi La Thanzi (BLT) study is enrolling 200 of these women to complete the following objectives:

1. Determine the prevalence of schistosomiasis, HIV and infertility among women who come to the MWC for care.

2. Examine women for signs of cervical cancer and test for other infections during the physical examination.

Click here to read more about this study and see preliminary results.

For a research abstract, click here.