OBJECTIVES--To investigate the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infections in a group of female teenagers, and to analyse to what extent HPV DNA was also detectable, in urethra and cervix samples among the patients with macroscopic genital warts compared with those without. DESIGN--The patients were interviewed about their sexual habits and history of venereal diseases. They underwent a gynaecological health control examination, including macroscopic inspection for genital warts and collection of a cytological vaginal smear (Pap smear). Cell samples were also taken from endocervix and urethra and from vulva lesions, when found. These samples were tested for HPV DNA of the types 6, 11, 16, 18 and 33 using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. SETTING--An adolescence out-patient clinic in Malmö, Sweden. SUBJECTS--Forty-nine female teenagers consulting for gynaecological complaints, some of them for genital warts. RESULTS--Twenty patients had present and four had a history of genital warts (group A). The other 25 patients had no visible lesions (group B). In the first group (A) 18 of the 24 patients were positive for HPV DNA in one or more of the three locations studied. More patients were positive in urethra (17) than in cervix (15). In group B four of the 25 patients were positive for HPV DNA in urethra, three of these also in cervix. In the two groups 11 and four patients, respectively, showed pathological Pap smears. CONCLUSIONS--The finding of HPV DNA in urethra, both from women with and without visible genital warts, indicates that there is a high probability that the infection is also present in cervix, suggesting that the genital HPV infections are multifocal. Thus, patients with genital warts are most likely to have cervical HPV infections and will more often have pathological Pap smears than patients without warts.
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