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Impact of Eating Probiotic Yogurt on Colonization by Candida Species of the Oral and Vaginal Mucosa in HIV-Infected and HIV-Uninfected Women



Candidiasis in HIV/AIDS patients continues to be a public health problem. Antifungal therapies are not always effective and may result in complications, such as the development of drug-resistant strains of Candida species.


This study evaluated the impact of probiotic consumption on Candida colonization of the oral and vaginal mucosa.


A pilot study was conducted in 24 women (17 HIV-infected, 7 HIV-uninfected) from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. The women underwent a 60-day initiation period with no probiotic consumption, followed by two 15-day consumption periods, with a different probiotic yogurt (DanActive™ or YoPlus™ yogurt) during each interval. There was a 30-day washout period between the two yogurt consumption periods. Oral and vaginal culture swabs were collected on days 0, 60, 74, and 120. Candida was detected by inoculating each swab in both Sabouraud’s dextrose agar with or without chloramphenicol and CHROMagar.


Less fungal colonization among women was observed when the women consumed probiotic yogurts (54 % of the women had vaginal fungal colonization during the non-probiotic yogurt consumption period, 29 % during the DanActive™ period, and 38 % during YoPlus™ yogurt consumption period), and HIV-infected women had significantly lower vaginal fungal colonization after they consumed DanActive™ yogurt compared to the non-intervention periods (54 vs 29 %, p = 0.03).


These data are promising, but as expected in a small pilot study, there were some significant changes but also some areas where colonization was not changed. This type of conflicting data is supportive of the need for a larger trial to further elucidate the role of probiotic yogurts in fungal growth in HIV-infected women.

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Data in this manuscript were collected by the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) Collaborative Study Group. The WIHS is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (U01-AI-35004, U01-AI-31834, U01-AI-34994, U01-AI-34989, U01-AI-34993, and U01-AI-42590) and by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (U01-HD-32632). The study is co-funded by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Funding is also provided by the National Center for Research Resources (UCSF-CTSI Grant Number UL1 RR024131). The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. This publication was also made possible by The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Grant number 3U01AI034994-17S1R from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIAID.

Conflict of interest

D. Merenstein has served as a paid consultant to General Mills and Nestlé. The other authors have no relevant affiliations or financial involvement with any organization or entity with a financial interest in or financial conflict with the subject matter or materials discussed in the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Daniel J. Merenstein.

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Hu, H., Merenstein, D.J., Wang, C. et al. Impact of Eating Probiotic Yogurt on Colonization by Candida Species of the Oral and Vaginal Mucosa in HIV-Infected and HIV-Uninfected Women. Mycopathologia 176, 175–181 (2013).

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  • Probiotics
  • Vulvovaginal candidiasis
  • Oral candidiasis
  • Candida
  • HIV
  • Opportunistic infections