AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 872–878

Vaginal Cleansing Practices in HIV Infected Zambian Women

  • Maria L. Alcaide
  • Miriam Mumbi
  • Ndashi Chitalu
  • Deborah Jones
Original Paper


Vaginal practices are a variety of behavioral techniques that women use to manage their sexual life and personal hygiene. Women perceive vaginal practices as a beneficial practice. However, vaginal cleansing has been identified as one of the main risk factors for bacterial vaginosis and is potentially implicated in Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV) and sexually transmitted infection transmission. This study examined the prevalence of vaginal practices and the types of practices used among a sample of HIV positive women living in Lusaka, Zambia. Over 90% of all women recruited engaged in vaginal practices. Certain practices, such as use of water or soap, were more frequently used for hygiene reasons. Herbs and traditional medicines were mainly used to please sexual partner. Strategies to decrease VP appear urgently needed in the Zambian community.


Vaginal practices HIV Women Africa Bacterial vaginosis 


Las prácticas vaginales son utilizadas por las mujeres para controlar su sexualidad e higiene personal. La mayoría de las mujeres que utilizan practicas vaginales las consideran beneficiosas. Sin embargo, la excesiva higiene vaginal facilita el desarrollo de vaginosis bacteriana y podría aumenta el riesgo de transmitir el virus de la inmunodeficiencia humana (VIH) y otras enfermedades de transmisión sexual. Este estudio describe la prevalencia de prácticas vaginales y los tipos de prácticas utilizadas por mujeres VIH positivas en Lusaka, Zambia. Más del 90% de las mujeres utiliza algún tipo de prácticas vaginales. El agua y jabón se utilizan principalmente por motivos higiénicos. Las plantas y medicinas tradicionales se utilizan principalmente para aumentar el placer sexual de la pareja. Estrategias para disminuir las prácticas vaginales son necesarias en la comunidad femenina de Zambia.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria L. Alcaide
    • 1
  • Miriam Mumbi
    • 2
  • Ndashi Chitalu
    • 2
  • Deborah Jones
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Infectious DiseasesUniversity of Miami Miller School of MedicineMiamiUSA
  2. 2.University of ZambiaLusakaZambia
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Miami Miller School of MedicineMiamiUSA

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