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Human papillomavirus in normal cervical smears from Cape Town

Jennifer E Ramesar
Catherine MC Dehaeck
Robbert Soeters
Anna-Lise Williamson


Objective: To determine the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) types in South African women with normal cervical cytology and to determine whether our results are comparable to what has been found elsewhere in the wortd. Design: Cervical smears were collected from 262 women. Setting: The Cape Town metropolitan area. Participants: A total of 262 women, aged 19 - 85 years. Eighty-five women attended the family planning clinic of the Gynaecology Department at Groate Schuur Hospital and 177 women consulted private gynaecological practices. Main outcome measures: The prevalence and types of HPV in 192 women with normal cervical cytology. Results: The incidence of HPV DNA in cervical smears from Cape Town women with normal cytology was found to be 13% (25/192) using Southern blot hybridisation. The types of HPV found in normal cervical tissue from Cape Town did not differ significantly from those found elsewhere in the world. Nine per cent (17/192) were positive for 'high-risk' HPV types which are associated with premalignant and malignant cervical lesions. In the age group 20 - 39 years, 15 of 92 (16%) were positive for HPV DNA, while in the age group above 39 years, 3 of 53 (6%) women were positive for HPV DNA. Conclusions: In this study, 25 of 192 (13%) women with normal cytology were positive for HPV.

S Afr Med J 1996: 86: 1402-1405