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Higher prevalence of human papillomavirus infection in migrant women from Latin America in Spain
  1. C González1,
  2. M Ortiz2,
  3. J Canals3,
  4. L Muñoz2,
  5. I Jarrín1,
  6. M G de la Hera1,
  7. A García-Saiz2,
  8. J del Amo1
  1. 1Department of Public Health and History of Science, Miguel Hernández University, Alicante, Spain
  2. 2National Centre of Microbiology, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain
  3. 3Family Planning Centre No II, Alicante, Spain
  1. Correspondence to:
 Julia del Amo
 Departamento de Salud Publica, Universidad Miguel Hernandez, Campus de San Juan, Crtra, Alicante-Valencia Km 87, 03550 San Juan, Alicante, Spain; jamo{at}


Objectives: To estimate prevalence and determinants of high risk (HR) human papillomavirus (HPV) by country of origin in women attending a family planning centre (FPC) in Alicante, Spain.

Methods: Cross sectional study of all women attending a FPC from May 2003 to January 2004. An ad hoc questionnaire was designed and data were collected prospectively. HR HPV infection was determined through the Digene HPV test, Hybrid Capture II, and positive samples for PCR were directly sequenced. Data were analysed through multiple logistic regression.

Results: HR HPV prevalence in 1011 women was 10% (95% CI: 8.2 to 12). Compared to Spaniards (prevalence 8.2%) HR HPV prevalence in Colombians was 27.5% (OR: 4.24 95% CI: 2.03 to 8.86), 23.1% in Ecuadoreans (OR: 3.35 95% CI: 1.30 to 8.63), and 22.73% in women from other Latin American countries (OR: 3.29 95% CI: 1.17 to 9.19). Women with more than three lifetime sexual partners had an increased risk of HR HPV infection (OR 3.21 95% CI: 2.02 to 5.10). The higher risk of HR HPV infection was maintained in Latin American women in multivariate analyses that adjusted for age, number of lifetime sexual partners, and reason for consultation. The commonest HPV types in women with normal cervical smears were HPV-18 (20%), HPV-16 (14%) and HPV-33 (11%).

Conclusions: Prevalence of HR HPV is more than three times higher in Latin Americans than in Spaniards. Latin American women’s HPV prevalence resembles more that of their countries of origin. It is essential that health service providers identify these women as a priority group in current cervical screening programmes

  • CSWs, commercial sex workers
  • FPC, family planning centre
  • HPV, human papillomavirus
  • HR, high risk
  • PCR, polymerase chain reaction
  • human papillomavirus
  • Latin America
  • Spain

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  • This study was supported by funds provided by Generalitat Valenciana, Conselleria de Sanidad, DOGV, and was also supported by the Spanish Medical Research Fund (FIS), through grant C03/09 for RCESP and Programa intramural promoción investigación biomedical ISCIII MPI 1117/03).