Objective: To assess the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in women in Brazil.
Methods: A systematic literature review was conducted with an active search in PubMed and Virtual Health Library databases using the terms "human papillomavirus," "HPV," "prevalence," and "Brazil". Of 155 articles retrieved, 82 were selected after reading their title and abstract. After a thorough examination, 14 articles were included in the study.
Results: The 14 articles selected were published between 1989 and 2008 and comprised studies from four Brazilian macroregions (Southeast - 43%; South - 21.4%; Northeast - 21.4%; and North - 7.1%). Nine were cross-sectional studies. Eight articles used polymerase chain reaction and seven used hybrid capture for HPV detection. The study samples ranged from 49 to 2,329 women. The overall prevalence of HPV cervical infection was between 13.7% and 54.3%; and women with cytologically normal results had 10% to 24.5% prevalence of HPV cervical infection. Four articles described the most common HPV types.
Conclusions: The cytology techniques available use different classifications leading to different HPV prevalence estimates. However, considering the studies individually according to the detection technique used, the HPV prevalence has increased. HPV16 was the most prevalent type among women, regardless of the cytology result. The concentration of studies in the Southeast region, especially in metropolitan regions, evidences that further investigations are needed to improve information coverage of Brazilian women.