Background: Nevertheless its association with cervicouterine cancer, there is no information about cervical human papillomavirus infection prevalence in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Objective: To evaluate human papillomavirus infection prevalence through molecular biology tests, and to analyze this infection related factors in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Material and method: Analytic, transversal study to 250 patients: 61 women with rheumatoid arthritis selected from a rheumatologic external consult of a second level hospital, and 189 healthy women, with cervical cytology, of a first level hospital. They were polled to find infection risk factors. They were exfoliated to get cervix cells to extract its DNA and detect human papillomavirus (chain reaction of polymerase with specific consensus markers), and identification of restriction enzyme in high and low risks viruses. Prevalence was calculated, and adjusted factors analysis was performed through logistic regression with odds ratio and confidence intervals of 95%.
Results: Prevalence of papillomavirus infection in patients with rheumatoid arthritis was 30%, and in control group was 24%, with an odds ratio of 0.8 (CI 95% 0.42-1.6, p = 0.5). Ninety-four percent of the most frequent viral types in women with rheumatoid arthritis were high risk (mainly types 16, 58, and 18). Factors associated with higher human papillomavirus adjusted to rheumatoid arthritis were: more than one sexual partner (OR = 5.8 CI 95% 1.1-31.1, p = 0.04), more than one sexual intercourse weekly (OR = 6.7, CI 95% 0.9-51.6, p = 0.06), circumcised sexual partner (OR = 9.0, CI 95% 1.2-64.4, p = 0.02). Patients and controls had same values of marital status. Seventy-four percent of controls worked, compared to 44% of women with rheumatoid arthritis (p < 0.01).
Conclusion: One out of three women with rheumatoid arthritis has human papillomavirus infection and 94% has the high-risk viral type. Infection associated factors mainly includes sexual partner ones; due to high risk of cervical dysplasia, it is necessary the early detection of the infection and surveillance.