Prevalence of cervical, oral and anal Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in women


human papillomavirus, cervical infection, anal infection, oral infection, prevalence


Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the most common sexually transmitted infection worldwide. In women with genital infection, the virus can be transmitted by sex to the oral cavity of their partners and then to their own oral cavity. This study aims to establish the prevalence of cervical/anal/oral HPV infection in women attending the Dermatology Unit of the Policlinico San Martino, Genoa, Italy. Between January 2016 and December 2018, the female patients attending the sexually transmitted infections (STI) center and those requiring a full body skin examination for skin cancer screening were recruited. Cervical, anal, oral samples were collected with ThinPrep liquid based cytology preparation system: polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for HPV and cytological evaluation were performed. Overall, 85 STI clinic attendees and 31 “supposed” healthy patients were recruited. Cervical HPV was detected in 60% of the STI patients and 48% of the healthy subjects. In the anal region, 44% of the STI patients and 26% of the healthy population were HPV positive. Cervical and anal HPV infection resulted significantly associated. Moreover, 32% of the STI patients and 29% of the healthy population proved HPV positive in the oral cavity. Surprisingly, in the STI women of our series, prevalence of cervical/anal/oral HPV infection was only slightly higher than in the “presumed” healthy population. The high prevalence of anal-oral infections and the frequent association between anal and cervical infections, provide reason to suggest HPV screening also in the anal and oral regions, which may represent HPV reservoirs and grounds for cancer development.


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