Bacterial Vaginosis Past Projects







Thank you for participating in the Bacterial Vaginosis Antibiotic Probiotic Study (BVAPS). We have analysed the results of the trial and are providing a summary of the findings to participants who have indicated they would like to know the results.
The main findings are as follows:

  1. Women who took the oral and vaginal antibiotic or the oral antibiotic and vaginal probiotic had the same rates of BV recurrence as women who took the oral antibiotic alone. This is an important clinical finding as it tells clinicians and patients that combining oral and vaginal treatments is not better at curing BV than just prescribing oral antibiotics
  2. Women who experienced BV again after treatment were more likely to:
  • Not use condoms for vaginal sex
  • Have sex again with the same regular partner (male or female) they had before they were treated
  • Not be on the oral contraceptive pill
These findings indicate that certain behaviours or practices may be quite important in BV recurrence, although it is not fully understood why.
Importantly, male partner treatment trials have been conducted in the past and did not appear to reduce a woman’s risk of BV coming back. This has formed the basis of international clinical guidelines that do not recommend partner treatment. Recently, however, the accuracy of these trials has been called into question and whether these trials need repeating is being considered. No partner trials have been performed in women with female sexual partners.
Women using the oral contraceptive pill had a greatly reduced risk of BV recurrence and we are in the process of examining why this may be the case.
Overall, these findings have resulted in us deciding to investigate both the role of the oral contraceptive pill and male partner treatment in reducing women’s risk of recurrence. These studies are currently in the planning phase and likely to commence in 2013. Please come back and visit our study website if you are interested in participating in future BV studies. They will be advertised once they have received ethics approval and are about the commence recruitment.




 WOW Health Study


WOW Health publicationSummary:
A study of women-who-have-sex-with women (WSW) with bacterial vaginosis (BV) was carried out to look at behaviours that may influence the vaginal microorganisms of women and their female partners. Women between the ages of 18-55 years were recruited nationally. Participants completed questionnaires and self-collected vaginal swabs weekly on 3 occasions for BV assessment. 458 participants were recruited of which 192 were co-enrolled with their female partner (96 couples). BV was detected in 125 women (27%). BV was found more often in females who smoked, and who had 4 or more lifetime female partners, and when a female partner had BV symptoms. 375 (88%) participants had stable normal vaginal flora. Co-enrolled couples were less likely to have BV (31% vs 23%). Long term sexually-active WSW partnerships were more likely to have normal vaginal microorganisms.
This study has been also been published in Journal of Infectious Diseases
JID, 2014; 209: 1562 -1572
Bradshaw CS, Walker SM, Vodstrcil LA, Bilardi JE, Law M, Hocking JS, Fethers KA, Fehler G, Petersen S, Tabrizi SN, Chen MY, Garland SM, Fairley CK
The influence of behaviours and relationships on the vaginal microbiota of women and their female partners: The WOW Health Study
WOW prospective cohort study - Two hundred and ninety-eight women who did not have BV in this baseline study then continued in a 24 month prospective cohort study and provided vaginal samples and completed detailed questionnaires every 3 months. This study has completed and the data is currently being analysed. A plain language summary of the finding will be available on this site by the end of 2014. Thank you


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 BV's Back

Thank you for participating in the BVs Back study. The study is now complete and we have analysed the results and are providing a summary of the findings to participants who have indicated they would like to know the results.

Main study results

Thirty five women with male and/or female partners participated in a semi-structured interview either face-to-face or by telephone about their experience of recurrent bacterial vaginosis (BV). Women’s experiences of recurrent BV varied depending on a number of factors including the frequency of recurrences and the severity of symptoms - the more severe the symptoms generally the greater the impact on their lives.  Women commonly reported feeling embarrassed, ashamed, ‘dirty’ and very concerned others may detect their malodour and abnormal discharge.  The biggest impact of recurrent bacterial vaginosis was on women’s self-esteem and sex lives, with women regularly avoiding sexual activity, in particular oral sex, as they were too embarrassed and self-conscious of their symptoms to engage in these activities.  Women often felt confused about why they were experiencing recurrent bacterial vaginosis and frustrated at their lack of control over recurrence. Further support and acknowledgement of these impacts are required when managing women with recurrent bacterial vaginosis.

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BV Quick


This is an internal survey given to clients attending Melbourne Sexual Health Centre. Next year we hope to start two pilot studies at the clinic 1) investigating male partner treatment for BV and 2) determining whether hormonal contraceptives can reduce a woman’s risk of BV recurrence and the mechanisms by which this might be occurring. The intention of these pilot studies is to gather preliminary data and apply for NHMRC funding at the end of 2013 to support larger studies.

To help us gain an understanding of the acceptability for these studies we are distributing a quick questionnaire in the clinic for any woman diagnosed with BV. The BV Quick questionnaire will be provided to women by their treating clinician. If you have any questions about this study please call

1800 082 820


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BV is a very common vaginal infection among women which often comes back even after treatment.

SToP BV is a study that is investigating whether going on the oral contraceptive pill for six months after taking recommended antibiotics reduces the risk of BV coming back.

If you are female, aged 18 to 45 years of age, currently have BV, we would love to hear from you. Please call us on

1800 234 285


This study is being conducted by researchers from the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (Alfred Hospital), and The University of Melbourne and has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committees of both institutes. You will be reimbursed for participating in this trial.