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Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases

Print version ISSN 1413-8670On-line version ISSN 1678-4391


CARESTIATO, Fernanda N. et al. Prevalence of human papillomavirus infection in the genital tract determined by hybrid capture assay. Braz J Infect Dis [online]. 2006, vol.10, n.5, pp.331-336. ISSN 1413-8670.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the most prevalent sexually-transmitted virus worldwide. It is known to be the etiological agent of cervical cancer and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). Consequently, there is strong motivation to evaluate HPV testing in cervical cancer screening. Recently developed, the second generation of the hybrid capture test (HCA II) is a non-radioactive, relatively rapid, hybridization assay, designed to detect 18 HPV types divided into high and low-risk groups. We evaluated 7,314 patients (5,833 women and 1,481 men) for HPV infection by HCA II. Among them, 3,008 (41.1%) presented HPV infection: 430 (14.2%) had HPV DNA of low risk for cancer, 1,631 (54.2%) had high risk HPV types and 947 (31.5%) had both types. The prevalence in females was 44.9%. The prevalence of HPV DNA in the group for which cytological results were available was slightly higher: 55.3% (1007/1824). Significant differences were detected in the frequency of HPV infection of the cervix between normal cases and those with high-grade squamous-intraepithelial lesions (HSIL)(P<0.0001). Among males, the prevalence was 26.2%, composed of 9.1% in Group A, 9.7% in Group B and 7.4% with multiple infections. We observed that male prevalence was lower and that low-risk types were more frequent than in females. HPV viral load was significantly greater in SILs than in normal or inflammatory cases (P<0.0001), suggesting an association between high viral load values and risk of SIL. Because of high costs, the HCA II test cannot be recommended for routine mass screening for cervical infection in poor countries. Nevertheless, it was found to be a useful tool, when combined with cytology, discovering high-risk infections in apparently normal tissues and revealing silent infections that may be responsible for the maintenance of HPV in the general population. These findings point to the need for close and careful management of patients, thereby reducing overtreatment, allowing analysis of both sexual partners and finally contributing to the control of genital infections associated with a risk for cancer.

Keywords : HPV; SIL; cancer; hybrid capture.

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