High prevalence of and factors associated with human papillomavirus infection among women attending a tertiary hospital in Gauteng Province, South Africa

Teboho Amelia Tiiti, Selokela Gloria Selabe, Johannes Bogers, Ramokone Lisbeth Lebelo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Persistent high-risk (hr) human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is a necessary cause of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is a major public health problem in Sub-Saharan Africa including South Africa. This study investigated the prevalence of and factors associated with hr-HPV infection among women attending a tertiary hospital in Gauteng Province, South Africa. Methods: Cervical samples were collected from 526 participants aged ≥ 18 years using a Cervex Brush® Combi and tested for hr-HPV types on the Abbott m2000 analyzer using the Abbott RealTime HR HPV assay. Samples that tested hr-HPV deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)-positive were further tested for hr-HPV E6/E7 messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) using the APTIMA® HPV assay on the Panther system (Hologic, Inc.). Sociodemographic data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire. Binomial regression analysis was used to assess factors associated with hr-HPV infection. Results: Overall hr-HPV DNA prevalence was 48.1% (95%CI: 43.8–52.4%). Of the hr-HPV DNA-positives, 24.5% (95%CI: 19.3–30.1) had HPV-16; 12.3% (95%CI: 8.5–16.9) had HPV-18 and 87.4% (95%CI: 82.6–91.2) had other 12 h-HPVs. Of the samples positive for hr-HPV DNA, 84.2% (95%CI: 79.1–88.5) (213/253) were positive for hr-HPV E6/E7 mRNA. Advanced age was an important factor linked to hr-HPV E6/E7 mRNA positivity. Based on multivariate binomial regression analysis, unemployment (PR: 1.50; 95%CI: 1.23–1.83) and being married (PR: 0.61; 95%CI: 0.47–0.81) were identified as statistically significant (p < 0.0001) predictive and protective factors, respectively, for hr-HPV infection. Conclusions: The prevalence of hr-HPV infection was high. Furthermore, hr-HPV DNA-positive samples had a high hr-HPV E6/E7 mRNA prevalence. The presence of hr-HPV E6/E7mRNA indicates active infection and thus a greater risk of developing the cervical disease. Therefore, HPV mRNA testing could be a better test to monitor women who are positive with Pap smear before colposcopy is performed to reduce the burden of referrals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number854
JournalBMC Cancer
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • E6/E7 mRNA
  • HPV 16
  • HPV 18
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Prevalence, Risk factors

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