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Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 4980417, 8 pages
Research Article

The Prevalence of Syphilis Infection and Its Associated Factors in the General Population of Rwanda: A National Household-Based Survey

1Rwanda Biomedical Center, Ministry of Health, Kigali, Rwanda
2Global Evaluative Sciences, Vancouver, BC, Canada
3School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
4Institute of Human Virology and Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
5Basel Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Institute & Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

Received 15 December 2015; Accepted 2 March 2016

Academic Editor: David Smajs

Copyright © 2016 Mwumvaneza Mutagoma et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. The prevalence of syphilis among HIV-infected people is a public health concern, but there is limited literature to describe the true burden of syphilis in resource-limited settings. We conducted this survey in 2013 to estimate the prevalence of syphilis. Methods. A cross-sectional survey. Participants were tested for syphilis and HIV. Factors associated with syphilis infection were identified. Results. The prevalence of syphilis was 0.9% (95% CI: 0.7–1.1). This prevalence was higher in the 25–49-year-old age (1.1% [95% CI: 0.8–1.3]) than in the 15–24-year-old age (0.6% (95% CI: 0.4–0.9)). Women with lower education had a higher prevalence of syphilis (1.2% (95% CI: 0.9–1.5)) compared to others (0.4% (95% CI: 0.2–0.8)). This prevalence among HIV-infected people was six times higher: 4.8% (95% CI: 2.9–7.9) compared to HIV-negative people (0.8% (95% CI: 0.6–1.0)). The prevalence of syphilis among HIV-infected females was 5.9% (95% CI: 3.4–10.0). HIV-infected or concurrent sexual partners was associated with increased syphilis prevalence with aOR = 4.2 (95% CI: 2.5–7.2) and aOR = 4.2 (95% CI: 2.8–6.5), respectively. Conclusions. The prevalence of syphilis was significantly higher among HIV-infected patients. HIV infection and concurrent sexual partners are associated with an increased prevalence of syphilis. Preventing HIV might help in preventing syphilis.