Epidemiology of Treponema pallidum, Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Trichomonas vaginalis, and herpes simplex virus type 2 among female sex workers in the Middle East and North Africa

systematic review and meta-analytics

Hiam Chemaitelly, Helen A. Weiss, Alex Smolak, Elzahraa Majed, Laith Aburaddad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: The epidemiology of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and the role of commercial heterosexual sex networks in driving STI transmission in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region remain largely unknown. Objective: To characterize the epidemiology of Treponema pallidum (syphilis), Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Trichomonas vaginalis, and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) among female sex workers (FSWs) in MENA using an in-depth quantitative assessment. Methods: A systematic review on ten international, regional, and country-level databases was conducted, and reported following PRISMA guidelines. Pooled prevalences of current and/or ever infection for each STI were estimated using random-effects meta-analyses. Sources of between-study heterogeneity were investigated through random-effects meta-regressions. Results: One T. pallidum incidence study and 144 STI prevalence studies were identified for 45 812 FSWs in 13 MENA countries. The pooled prevalence of current infection was 12.7% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 8.5%-17.7%) for T. pallidum, 14.4% (95% CI = 8.2%-22.0%) for C. trachomatis, 5.7% (95% CI = 3.5%-8.4%) for N. gonorrhoeae, and 7.1% (95% CI = 4.3%-10.5%) for T. vaginalis. The pooled prevalence of ever infection (seropositivity using antibody testing) was 12.8% (95% CI = 9.4%-16.6%) for T. pallidum, 80.3% (95% CI = 53.2%-97.6%) for C. trachomatis, and 23.7% (95% CI = 10.2%-40.4%) for HSV-2. The multivariable meta-regression for T. pallidum infection demonstrated strong subregional differences, with the Horn of Africa and North Africa showing, respectively 6-fold (adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 6.4; 95% CI = 2.5-16.7) and 5-fold (AOR = 5.0; 95% CI = 2.5-10.6) higher odds of infection than Eastern MENA. There was also strong evidence for declining T. pallidum odds of infection at 7% per year (AOR = 0.93; 95% CI = 0.88-0.98). Study-specific factors including diagnostic method, sample size, sampling methodology, and response rate, were not associated with syphilis infection. The multivariable model explained 48.5% of the variation in T. pallidum prevalence. Conclusions: STI infection levels among FSWs in MENA are considerable, supporting a key role for commercial heterosexual sex networks in transmission dynamics, and highlighting the health needs of this neglected and vulnerable population. Syphilis prevalence in FSWs appears to have been declining for at least three decades. Gaps in evidence persist for multiple countries.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of global health
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

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Treponema pallidum
Trichomonas vaginalis
Northern Africa
Eastern Africa
Sex Workers
Human Herpesvirus 2
Middle East
Neisseria gonorrhoeae
Chlamydia trachomatis
Epidemiology
Confidence Intervals
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Infection
Syphilis
Odds Ratio
Heterosexuality
Infectious Disease Transmission
Vulnerable Populations
Sample Size
Meta-Analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

@article{b9d4d4f1c44249889e3a4c3f1c1e78cc,
title = "Epidemiology of Treponema pallidum, Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Trichomonas vaginalis, and herpes simplex virus type 2 among female sex workers in the Middle East and North Africa: systematic review and meta-analytics",
abstract = "Background: The epidemiology of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and the role of commercial heterosexual sex networks in driving STI transmission in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region remain largely unknown. Objective: To characterize the epidemiology of Treponema pallidum (syphilis), Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Trichomonas vaginalis, and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) among female sex workers (FSWs) in MENA using an in-depth quantitative assessment. Methods: A systematic review on ten international, regional, and country-level databases was conducted, and reported following PRISMA guidelines. Pooled prevalences of current and/or ever infection for each STI were estimated using random-effects meta-analyses. Sources of between-study heterogeneity were investigated through random-effects meta-regressions. Results: One T. pallidum incidence study and 144 STI prevalence studies were identified for 45 812 FSWs in 13 MENA countries. The pooled prevalence of current infection was 12.7{\%} (95{\%} confidence interval (CI) = 8.5{\%}-17.7{\%}) for T. pallidum, 14.4{\%} (95{\%} CI = 8.2{\%}-22.0{\%}) for C. trachomatis, 5.7{\%} (95{\%} CI = 3.5{\%}-8.4{\%}) for N. gonorrhoeae, and 7.1{\%} (95{\%} CI = 4.3{\%}-10.5{\%}) for T. vaginalis. The pooled prevalence of ever infection (seropositivity using antibody testing) was 12.8{\%} (95{\%} CI = 9.4{\%}-16.6{\%}) for T. pallidum, 80.3{\%} (95{\%} CI = 53.2{\%}-97.6{\%}) for C. trachomatis, and 23.7{\%} (95{\%} CI = 10.2{\%}-40.4{\%}) for HSV-2. The multivariable meta-regression for T. pallidum infection demonstrated strong subregional differences, with the Horn of Africa and North Africa showing, respectively 6-fold (adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 6.4; 95{\%} CI = 2.5-16.7) and 5-fold (AOR = 5.0; 95{\%} CI = 2.5-10.6) higher odds of infection than Eastern MENA. There was also strong evidence for declining T. pallidum odds of infection at 7{\%} per year (AOR = 0.93; 95{\%} CI = 0.88-0.98). Study-specific factors including diagnostic method, sample size, sampling methodology, and response rate, were not associated with syphilis infection. The multivariable model explained 48.5{\%} of the variation in T. pallidum prevalence. Conclusions: STI infection levels among FSWs in MENA are considerable, supporting a key role for commercial heterosexual sex networks in transmission dynamics, and highlighting the health needs of this neglected and vulnerable population. Syphilis prevalence in FSWs appears to have been declining for at least three decades. Gaps in evidence persist for multiple countries.",
author = "Hiam Chemaitelly and Weiss, {Helen A.} and Alex Smolak and Elzahraa Majed and Laith Aburaddad",
year = "2019",
month = "12",
day = "1",
doi = "10.7189/jogh.09.020408",
language = "English",
volume = "9",
journal = "Journal of Global Health",
issn = "2047-2978",
publisher = "Edinburgh University Global Health Society",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Epidemiology of Treponema pallidum, Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Trichomonas vaginalis, and herpes simplex virus type 2 among female sex workers in the Middle East and North Africa

T2 - systematic review and meta-analytics

AU - Chemaitelly, Hiam

AU - Weiss, Helen A.

AU - Smolak, Alex

AU - Majed, Elzahraa

AU - Aburaddad, Laith

PY - 2019/12/1

Y1 - 2019/12/1

N2 - Background: The epidemiology of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and the role of commercial heterosexual sex networks in driving STI transmission in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region remain largely unknown. Objective: To characterize the epidemiology of Treponema pallidum (syphilis), Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Trichomonas vaginalis, and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) among female sex workers (FSWs) in MENA using an in-depth quantitative assessment. Methods: A systematic review on ten international, regional, and country-level databases was conducted, and reported following PRISMA guidelines. Pooled prevalences of current and/or ever infection for each STI were estimated using random-effects meta-analyses. Sources of between-study heterogeneity were investigated through random-effects meta-regressions. Results: One T. pallidum incidence study and 144 STI prevalence studies were identified for 45 812 FSWs in 13 MENA countries. The pooled prevalence of current infection was 12.7% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 8.5%-17.7%) for T. pallidum, 14.4% (95% CI = 8.2%-22.0%) for C. trachomatis, 5.7% (95% CI = 3.5%-8.4%) for N. gonorrhoeae, and 7.1% (95% CI = 4.3%-10.5%) for T. vaginalis. The pooled prevalence of ever infection (seropositivity using antibody testing) was 12.8% (95% CI = 9.4%-16.6%) for T. pallidum, 80.3% (95% CI = 53.2%-97.6%) for C. trachomatis, and 23.7% (95% CI = 10.2%-40.4%) for HSV-2. The multivariable meta-regression for T. pallidum infection demonstrated strong subregional differences, with the Horn of Africa and North Africa showing, respectively 6-fold (adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 6.4; 95% CI = 2.5-16.7) and 5-fold (AOR = 5.0; 95% CI = 2.5-10.6) higher odds of infection than Eastern MENA. There was also strong evidence for declining T. pallidum odds of infection at 7% per year (AOR = 0.93; 95% CI = 0.88-0.98). Study-specific factors including diagnostic method, sample size, sampling methodology, and response rate, were not associated with syphilis infection. The multivariable model explained 48.5% of the variation in T. pallidum prevalence. Conclusions: STI infection levels among FSWs in MENA are considerable, supporting a key role for commercial heterosexual sex networks in transmission dynamics, and highlighting the health needs of this neglected and vulnerable population. Syphilis prevalence in FSWs appears to have been declining for at least three decades. Gaps in evidence persist for multiple countries.

AB - Background: The epidemiology of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and the role of commercial heterosexual sex networks in driving STI transmission in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region remain largely unknown. Objective: To characterize the epidemiology of Treponema pallidum (syphilis), Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Trichomonas vaginalis, and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) among female sex workers (FSWs) in MENA using an in-depth quantitative assessment. Methods: A systematic review on ten international, regional, and country-level databases was conducted, and reported following PRISMA guidelines. Pooled prevalences of current and/or ever infection for each STI were estimated using random-effects meta-analyses. Sources of between-study heterogeneity were investigated through random-effects meta-regressions. Results: One T. pallidum incidence study and 144 STI prevalence studies were identified for 45 812 FSWs in 13 MENA countries. The pooled prevalence of current infection was 12.7% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 8.5%-17.7%) for T. pallidum, 14.4% (95% CI = 8.2%-22.0%) for C. trachomatis, 5.7% (95% CI = 3.5%-8.4%) for N. gonorrhoeae, and 7.1% (95% CI = 4.3%-10.5%) for T. vaginalis. The pooled prevalence of ever infection (seropositivity using antibody testing) was 12.8% (95% CI = 9.4%-16.6%) for T. pallidum, 80.3% (95% CI = 53.2%-97.6%) for C. trachomatis, and 23.7% (95% CI = 10.2%-40.4%) for HSV-2. The multivariable meta-regression for T. pallidum infection demonstrated strong subregional differences, with the Horn of Africa and North Africa showing, respectively 6-fold (adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 6.4; 95% CI = 2.5-16.7) and 5-fold (AOR = 5.0; 95% CI = 2.5-10.6) higher odds of infection than Eastern MENA. There was also strong evidence for declining T. pallidum odds of infection at 7% per year (AOR = 0.93; 95% CI = 0.88-0.98). Study-specific factors including diagnostic method, sample size, sampling methodology, and response rate, were not associated with syphilis infection. The multivariable model explained 48.5% of the variation in T. pallidum prevalence. Conclusions: STI infection levels among FSWs in MENA are considerable, supporting a key role for commercial heterosexual sex networks in transmission dynamics, and highlighting the health needs of this neglected and vulnerable population. Syphilis prevalence in FSWs appears to have been declining for at least three decades. Gaps in evidence persist for multiple countries.

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