The goal of this research is to understand the developmental composition, function, and correlates of the vaginal microbiome in young Black women. This focus is justified because of the substantial sexual health and reproductive health disparities of Black women compared to women of other racial/ethnic groups. No research traces the evolution of the vaginal microbiome of Black women from adolescence into young adulthood. This is a developmental interval characterized by new vaginal hygiene practices (e.g., douching, tampon/pad use), changes in diet and physical activity, partnered sexual activity, hormonal and barrier contraceptive use, and sexually transmitted infections. The potential impact of the project would be to inform public health interventions intended to reduce sexual and reproductive health disparities among Black women. We propose to assemble a prospective cohort of 180 healthy Black, post-menarchal 14 year-old adolescent women. Vaginal swabs will be self-obtained monthly for up to 24 months. Vaginal microbiome composition will be assessed by phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences. Vaginal microbiome function will be assessed by periodic assessment of vaginal pH and Nugent score, as well as quantification of salivary estrogen and vaginal glycogen. Nutritional correlates will be assessed with measurement of plasma 25- hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) status. Sexual behavior and reproductive health correlates of the vaginal microbiome will be assessed using electronic daily diaries. STI correlates will be diagnosed prospectively with nucleic acid amplifications tests.

Public Health Relevance

The knowledge gained from this study addresses sexual and reproductive health disparities of Black women, including sexually transmitted infections, human immunodeficiency virus infections, and low birth weight. The research will fill gaps in existing knowledge, will bring a missing developmental focus to understanding of the vaginal microbiome, and will guide new clinical and public health approaches to the sexual and reproductive health of Black women.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Type
High Priority, Short Term Project Award (R56)
Project #
1R56AI108775-01
Application #
8898465
Study Section
Clinical Research and Field Studies of Infectious Diseases Study Section (CRFS)
Program Officer
David, Hagit S
Project Start
2014-08-15
Project End
2015-07-31
Budget Start
2014-08-15
Budget End
2015-07-31
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
$772,643
Indirect Cost
$273,636
Name
Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis
Department
Pediatrics
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
603007902
City
Indianapolis
State
IN
Country
United States
Zip Code
46202