Author(s): Glynn JR, Kayuni N, Gondwe L, Price AJ, Crampin AC
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Abstract Remarkably little is known about associations between age at menarche and sexually transmitted infections, although girls with earlier menarche tend to have earlier sexual debut and school drop-out, so an association might be expected. In a population-based survey of >3000 women aged 15-30 in northern Malawi we show that those with earlier menarche had earlier sexual debut, earlier marriage and were more often Herpes simplex type-2 (HSV-2) positive. Compared to those with menarche aged <14, the age-adjusted odds ratios for HSV-2 were 0.89 (95\%CI 0.71-1.1), 0.71 (0.57-0.89) and 0.69 (0.54-0.89) for menarche aged 14, 15 and 16+ respectively. This association persisted after adjusting for socio-economic factors, including schooling, and for sexual behaviour. No such association was seen with HIV infection, which is much less common and less uniformly distributed than HSV-2 in this population. The extra vulnerability of girls with earlier menarche needs to be recognised. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01604.001.
This article was published in Elife
and referenced in Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences