WP 123 Y-Chromosome Detection Among African American Women Who Have Sex with Women (WSW)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Galleria Exhibit Hall
Christina Muzny, MD1, Charles Rivers, PhD, MSPH1, Hanne Harbison, MHS, MSN, CRNP1, Erika Austin, PhD, MPH2 and Jane Schwebke, MD1, 1Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, 2Department of Biostatistics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

Background: Sexual behaviors are prone to reporting bias. Use of biomarkers such as Y-chromosome detection in vaginal fluid are one approach to reduce this bias. This is of particular interest when evaluating WSW for female-to-female transmission of STIs. The objective of this study was to perform Y-chromosome testing on vaginal specimens from a cohort of exclusive African American WSW who denied recent sex with men to determine the accuracy of their self-reported sexual behaviors.

Methods: Provider-collected vaginal specimens from 77 WSW presenting to an urban STI clinic and participating in a study of partnership characteristics and STIs were used. DNA was extracted from 100 µL of vaginal wash using a two-step digest (50 U/µL Ready-Lyse lysozyme (EpiCentre Technologies, Madison, WI) at 37ºC overnight, followed by 1 hour at 56ºC with 120 nG/µL Proteinase K and 60 mM DTT) which was fed into a standard column-based extraction (DNeasy Blood and Tissue, Qiagen Inc., Valencia, CA). Y-chromosomes were detected using the Quantifiler Y Human Male DNA Quantification Kit (Life Technologies, Carlsbad, CA).

Results: Mean age of the cohort was 26.7 (SD ±8.0) years; median # of female partners in the past 30 days was 1 (IQR 1-1). None of the women reported sex with men during the past 30 days. Only 1/77 (1.3%) had Y-chromosome detected. This participant was a 20-year-old who identified as homosexual, reported no female partners in the past 30 days, 1 female partner during the past 3 months, 2 lifetime female partners, no lifetime male partners, and no history of pregnancy or STI; she was a contact to trichomoniasis and diagnosed with BV.

Conclusions: The very small proportion of WSW with a Y-chromosome detected in their vaginal fluid suggests that these women accurately reported their recent sexual behaviors with men. Y-chromosome testing may be useful in future WSW studies.