Phytotherapy as an alternative for the treatment of human papilloma virus infections in Nigeria: a review
Human papillomavirus (HPV) has been incriminated as the causal agent of cervical cancer which has been rated as the second most common cancers among women in developing countries and seventh most common cancers in the developed world. In spite of the fact that HPV has been the major cause of cervical cancer, the dilemma lies in finding a cost-effective therapy. Approximately 291 million women are infected with HPV worldwide, 32% of whom are infected with HPV16 or HPV18. The estimated prevalence of HPV in sub-Saharan Africa is 24% and 11.7% globally. There have been studies reporting specific HPV prevalence rates in some part of Nigeria, with 37% in Abuja, 10% in Port Harcourt, and 26.3% in Ibadan. In the Nigeria population, awareness of HPV infections is low, HPV vaccines are inadequate, and the cost of HPV vaccination per person is beyond what an average citizen can afford. It has been suggested that herbal therapy such as Echinacea therapy reduces HPV replication and enhances the immune system. Although there is yet no scientific proof of the efficacy of Echinacea therapy against HPV infections, future emphasis should be placed on scientific research into this alternative therapy. There is need for more studies on development of antiviral agents against HPV, with a prospect of easy accessibility and affordability in Nigeria.
Keywords: Phytotherapy; HPV; Cervical cancer; Nigeria