Background: The epidemiology of human papillomavirus (HPV) in Tanzania is largely unknown both in risk groups and in the general population.
Objective: To determine the cumulative seroprevalence of selected HPV types in order to evaluate exposure to HPV in urban Tanzania.
Method: In a cross-sectional study, sera of 200 patients of both sexes with genital ulcer disease (GUD) and sera of 60 male blood donors and 60 pregnant women were tested for antibodies to the oncogenic HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 51 and 52 using an ELISA based on virus-like particles (VLP).
Results: The overall seroprevalence of HPV types for all patients with GUD was 83% and 77% for women and men, respectively. For pregnant women and male blood donors, the corresponding percentages were 55% and 15%, respectively. The most common HPV types were 16, 18 and 52. Infection with multiple types was more than 10 and 5 times more frequent than infection with a single type 16 in patients with GUD and in pregnant women, respectively. The seroprevalence to HPV types 16, 18, 51 and 52 was considerably higher in HIV-positive patients with GUD than in HIV-negative patients.
Conclusions: Infections with the oncogenic HPV types 16, 18 and 52 are common among patients with GUD and pregnant women in urban Tanzania, emphasising the need for control, treatment and implementation of appropriate HPV vaccine programmes.
- GUD, genital ulcer disease
- HPV, human papillomavirus
- VLP, virus-like particles
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