, Volume 21, Issue 9, pp 727-729
Date: 27 Oct 2006

Prevalence of human papilloma virus infection in women in rural Ethiopia

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In Ethiopia cervical carcinoma is the most frequent cancer in women. HPV infection is a prerequisite for this disease. However, to date there have been no data on human papilloma virus (HPV) prevalence in Ethiopia. Outpatients attending Attat hospital in rural Ethiopia were examined for the presence of HPV DNA using the Digene HPV test. 15.9% of patients were found to be HPV positive. The proportion of HPV high risk types was 13.2% [age-standardised rates: HPV: 14.4% (95% CI: 8.5–20.2); HPV high risk: 11.6% (95% CI: 6.3–16.9)]. Compared to other countries HPV prevalence is high, especially of high risk types. Until vaccination programmes take effect, screening programmes should not be based on HPV testing alone as this will lead to significant overtreatment of healthy women.

Sr. Rita Schiffer, M.D., Member of the Medical Mission Sisters and Medical Director, Attat Hospital.