Susceptibility of middle adolescent females to sexually transmitted infections: Impact of hormone contraception and sexual behaviors on vaginal immunity

Melissa M. Barousse, Katherine P. Theall, Barbara Van Der Pol, J. Dennis Fortenberry, Donald P. Orr, Paul L. Fidel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Problem: The resistance and/or susceptibility to infections can be influenced by patterns of immunomodulators. Based on this and the high rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in adolescents, we examined the longitudinal relationship between sexual behaviors, hormonal contraceptive use, and bacterial vaginosis (BV) with vaginal-associated immunomodulators in adolescent females. Methods of study: Over 27 months, subjects completed detailed questionnaires, and consented to vaginal swabs for STI testing, and vaginal lavages for identification of immunomodulators including T-helper, proinflammatory, and chemokines. Concentrations of immunomodulators were correlated with each parameter together with prevalence of STIs. Results: Each parameter had a limited influence on vaginal immunomodulators with no evidence of any pattern(s) associated with infection. Conversely, the local presence of proinflammatory cytokines and neutrophils in those with an STI indicated some immune responsiveness. Conclusion: Sexual behaviors, contraceptive usage, and BV do not appear as factors in susceptibility of adolescents to STIs through the influence of local immunomodulators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-168
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2007



  • Adolescent behaviors
  • Adolescents
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Vaginal immunity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

Cite this