Vaginitis is extremely common. Its symptoms account for millions of physician visits each year. Moreover, common infectious forms of vaginitis are associated with several public health issues. Notably, pregnant women with some forms of vaginitis are at increased risk of premature labor and preterm delivery. Certain vaginal infections also increase susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
NICHD research aims to better understand the various types of vaginitis. Researchers are investigating the biological and behavioral factors that contribute to the development of these various types of vaginitis. Researchers aim to clarify the role of vaginal infections in adverse pregnancy and other health outcomes and to explore protective factors and interventions that might preserve vaginal health and prevent morbidities.