Human papillomavirus: a highly prevalent sexually transmitted disease agent among female sex workers from Mexico City

Sex Transm Dis. 2001 Mar;28(3):125-30. doi: 10.1097/00007435-200103000-00001.


Background: Cervical cancer, a human papillomavirus (HPV)-caused neoplasia, is highly prevalent in Mexico.

Goal: To determine the prevalence of HPV infection in female sex workers (FSW) from Mexico City and to assess the association between HPV infection and the characteristics of these women.

Study design: A questionnaire was applied to 495 FSW. Cervical cell specimens were obtained for DNA amplification and hybridization to detect 27 HPV types. A risk factor analysis was performed.

Results: The overall prevalence of HPV infection was 48.9%. The prevalence of high-risk HPV types was 43%, whereas that of low-risk types was 24.6%. A total of 18.8% of study participants was infected with both high-risk and low-risk HPV types, and 28.5% were infected with two or more HPV types. Younger age and failure to use a condom were independently associated HPV risks (odds ratio, 7.3 and 2.3; 95% CI, 3.5-15.0 and 1.2-4.4, respectively).

Conclusions: Infection with high-risk and multiple HPV types is high among Mexican FSW. This study corroborated a higher infection rate in younger women. A higher risk of HPV infection is also observed in women who have been involved with sex work for less than 1 year. However, condom use showed a protective effect against HPV infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cervix Uteri / cytology
  • DNA, Viral / isolation & purification*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mexico / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Work / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tumor Virus Infections / epidemiology*


  • DNA, Viral