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Prevalence of High-Risk Human Papillomavirus in Women with Normal and Abnormal Pap Smear: A Cross Sectional Study from a Tertiary Hospital in South India

Abstract

Introduction

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) has been identified as an important risk factor that predisposes to cervical cancer. Traditionally the Papanicolaou (Pap) smear test has been routinely used for the detection of premalignant lesions in the uterine cervix. However, due to the rise in false positive and negative results, advanced molecular techniques like PCR are more sensitive and reliable. This study aimed to assess the burden of HPV infection in women with normal and abnormal Pap testing attending a tertiary care hospital. Methods A total of 126 sexually active women were recruited for cervical examination in this cross sectional study. Cervical exfoliated cells were collected for cytology and HPV analysis. DNA was extracted and HPV detection was performed using nested PCR technique. Results HPV prevalence was higher in women with abnormal cytology infection (12.5%) compared with those who had normal Pap smear(3.8%); HPV 16 was found to be the most common subtype. Younger age at marriage, multiple sexual partners, and multiparity were found to be the most important confounding factors in the acquisition of HPV. Conclusion The current study demonstrated the presence of high-risk HPV in cervical smear specimens irrespective of normal and abnormal cytology, and hence emphasizes the need for implementation of effective national cervical cancer screening programs that could decrease the burden of cervical cancer in India.

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Correspondence to Veena Shetty.

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Shashidhar, S.C., Sonkusare, S., Ramesh, P.S. et al. Prevalence of High-Risk Human Papillomavirus in Women with Normal and Abnormal Pap Smear: A Cross Sectional Study from a Tertiary Hospital in South India. Indian J Gynecol Oncolog 19, 97 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40944-021-00592-y

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Keywords

  • Human Papillomavirus
  • Papanicolaou test
  • Cytology
  • PCR
  • Cervical cancer