Research Project

Menstrual Cups, Maturation of the Adolescent Vaginal Microbiome, and STI/HIV Risk

Principal Investigator
Mehta, Supriya
Research Area(s)
Global Health
Infectious Diseases
Funding Source
National Institutes of Health | National Institute of Child Health and Human Development | R01HD093780


This study examines the mechanisms by which menstrual cup use leads to reduced bacterial vaginosis and sexually-transmitted infection, and the effect of menstrual cup use on evolution of the adolescent vaginal microbiome. Researchers are characterizing the vaginal bacterial microbiome using high throughput amplicon sequencing in a randomly selected sample of girls aged 14-16 years, nested as a longitudinal sub-study within a cluster randomized controlled trial to scale up menstrual cup use among school girls in western Kenya. This study advances global health, examining how menstrual cups and sexual activity influence the adolescent vaginal microbiome over time, discovering interactions between behavior, the microbiome, and disease, in order to accelerate novel cost-effective therapeutic and preventive interventions for sexual and reproductive harms.