A low cost and accurate method for detecting high-risk (HR) human papillomavirus (HPV) is important to permit HPV testing for cervical cancer prevention. We used a commercially available HPV method (H13, Hybribio) which was documented to function accurately in a reduced volume of cervical specimen to determine the most prevalent HPV types and the distribution of HPV infections in over 1795 cancer-free women in Guatemala undergoing primary screening for cervical cancer by cytology.
HR-HPV detection was attempted in cervical samples from 1795 cancer-free women receiving Pap smears using the Hybribio™ real-time PCR assay of 13 HR types. The test includes a globin gene internal control. HPV positive samples were sequenced to determine viral type. Age-specific prevalence of HPV was also assessed in the study population.
A total of 13% (226/1717) of women tested HPV+, with 78 samples (4.3%) failing to amplify the internal control. The highest prevalence was found in younger women (< 30 years, 22%) and older ones (≥60 years, 15%). The six most common HR-HPV types among the 148 HPV+ typed were HPV16 (22%), HPV18 (11%), HPV39 (11%), HPV58 (10%), HPV52 (8%), and HPV45 (8%).
In this sample of cancer free women in Guatemala, HPV16 was the most prevalent HR type in Guatemala and the age-specific prevalence curve peaked in younger ages. Women in the 30-59-year age groups had a prevalence of HR-HPV of 8%, however, larger studies to better describe the epidemiology of HPV in Guatemala are needed.