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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2015

Human papillomavirus infection and cervical dysplasia in female sex workers in Northeast China: an observational study

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2015
Haiqing Jia, Xiaobin Wang, Zaiqiu Long, Liankun Li
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

None of the authors has any potential financial conflict of interest related to this work.

Authors’ contributions

HJ conceptualized the study, designed the questionnaire survey, performed HPV testing and prepared the manuscript. XW and ZL participated in HPV testing in healthy control subjects, data analysis and discussion on manuscript preparation. LL did oversee the execution of the study and manuscript preparation. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Women having multiple sex partners are reportedly at an increased risk of HPV infection. However, the prevalence and risk factors of HPV infection in female sex workers (FSWs) vary considerably across racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic groups. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and risk factors of HPV infection in FSWs in Northeast China.


A total of 309 FSWs identified and approached through a local police office and 1000 healthy subjects from a single factor undergoing annual gynecological examinations in Shenyang were recruited. A liquid-based ThinPrep Pap test and the Hybrid Capture II-based high-risk HPV DNA test, with or without a colposcopic examination, were performed on both FSWs and control subjects. Data on HPV infection and histological and cytological lesions of the cervix were obtained and analyzed. A questionnaire survey was administered to all 309 FSWs with their socio-demographic and behavioral information collected. The association of various socio-demographic and behavioral variables with HPV infection was assessed.


HPV was significantly more prevalent in FSWs (61.90 %) than in healthy control subjects (21.00 %) (P < 0.01), so were cervical lesions (P < 0.01). HPV prevalence in our sample of FSWs fell in the upper range of reported values in FSWs across different countries, and was similar to that for FSWs in the southeast Chinese city of Huzhou but higher than that for FSWs in southwest China, Guangxi, as compared with data from other studies within China. HPV infection in FSWs was significantly associated with the age at first sexual intercourse (OR 0.699, 95 % CI 0.492–0.992) and post-menopause (OR 2.928, 95 % CI 1.099–7.800) (P < 0.05).


FSWs are at a substantially high risk of HPV infection and cervical dysplasia development as compared with healthy control subjects in Shenyang, China. Age of first sexual intercourse and post-menopause are two independent risk factors for HPV infection in this special group of population. Intensified and coordinated efforts from government, public health sector, communities and families are needed to reduce the risk of HPV infection in this specific group of population.
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