OBJECTIVES - The objectives of this cross-sectional study were to determine correlates of syphilis seroprevalence among HIV-infected and -uninfected antenatal attendees in an African multisite clinical trial, and to improve strategies for maternal syphilis prevention.
RESULTS - A total of 2,270 (86%) women were HIV-infected and 366 (14%) were HIV-uninfected. One hundred seventy-five (6.6%) were syphilis-seropositive (7.3% among HIV-infected and 2.6% HIV-uninfected women). Statistically significant correlates included geographic site (odds ratio [OR] = 4.5, Blantyre; OR = 3.2, Lilongwe; OR = 9.0, Lusaka vs. Dar es Salaam referent); HIV infection (OR = 3.3); age 20 to 24 years (OR = 2.5); being divorced, widowed, or separated (OR = 2.9); genital ulcer treatment in the last year (OR = 2.9); history of stillbirth (OR = 2.8, one stillbirth; OR = 4.3, 2-5 stillbirths); and history of preterm delivery (OR = 2.7, one preterm delivery).
CONCLUSION - Many women without identified risk factors were syphilis-seropositive. Younger HIV-infected women were at highest risk. Universal integrated antenatal HIV and syphilis screening and treatment is essential in sub-Saharan African settings.