Correlates of HPV: a cross-sectional study in women with normal cytology in north-central Morocco
Introduction: Epidemiological studies have shown the association between risk of developing cervical cancer and the persistence of high-risk papillomavirus types in addition to some co-factors. However, little is known about co-factors associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, especially in developing countries. This study aims to determine HPV status and associated risk factors in women with normal cytology living in the north-central area of Morocco.
Methodology: From February 2007 to December 2008, a total of 925 women consulting in the gynaecological department of Fez University Hospital were asked about sociodemographic characteristics and reproductive and sexual health. Cervical samples were collected for cytological examination and HPV DNA detection. Data collected from 751 women with normal cytology were used in this study to assess the correlation between HPV infection and potential risk factors.
Results: High prevalence of HPV infection was detected (42.5%). The highest infection rate was observed in women aged > 45 years and in those with history of abortion (OR:3.76; 95%CI[1.77-7.98]) fibroma, polyp or cysts (OR:1.68; 95%CI[1.07-2.65]). No significant association was detected with other reproductive health and risk factors including oral contraception.
Conclusion: In spite of the insignificant association of HPV infection with age, health authorities should seriously consider and implement strategies to increase and maintain a cervical cancer screening programme in women aged 45 and above. More attention must be given to women with gynaecological history (abortion, fibroma, polyp or cysts) since these events may be predictors of HPV infection. Investigations on partner sexual behaviour and some specific hygienic habits, especially public Turkish bath use, are needed to clarify the HPV incidence in this region.