Human papillomavirus genotypes and clinical management of genital warts in women attending a colposcopy clinic in Cape Town, South Africa
Background. Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the most common sexually transmitted viral disease in the world. HPV infection of the genital epithelium is associated with genital warts and malignancies of the lower genital tract.
Objectives. To describe the distribution, phenotypic appearance and HPV type associated with genital warts in women.
Methods. This was a prospective observational study of all women with genital warts who attended the Colposcopy Clinic, Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa, during 2010 and fulfilled the inclusion and exclusion criteria. One hundred and thirteen women were tested for HPV using the Roche Linear Array HPV genotyping kit to determine the HPV genotypes causing genital warts.
Results. The median age of the women was 27 years (range 15 - 53); 90 (79.6%) were HIV-positive, and two-thirds were on antiretroviral treatment. Treatment involved ablation with topical agents, cauterisation or carbon dioxide laser. At 3 months’ follow-up after treatment, 56.6% of the women, the majority of whom were HIV-positive, had recurrent/persistent disease. In both HIV-positive and HIV-negative women, HPV was detected in over 90% of cases. However, over half the HIV-positive women as opposed to 2/18 of the HIV-negative women were infected with multiple HPV genotypes. The commonest HPV genotypes in HIV-positive and HIV-negative women were types 11, 6, 89, 61, 55 and 62 and types 11 and 6, respectively.
Conclusions. The majority of the patients were HIV-positive and had multiple HPV infections. While this did not alter the phenotypic appearance of the warts, recurrence/persistence after treatment was more common.