This study reports the prevalence and risk factors of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in healthy women in Singapore. Demography, education, sexual and reproductive history and cigarette smoking habits were obtained from a cross-sectional population of healthy women and girls aged above 12 years of age. Cervical or vaginal cytology samples were investigated for 37 known anogenital HPV subtypes using the linear array PCR method. Chi square statistics were used to test for associations of individual epidemiological factors with HPV infection. Independent risk factors were identified with binomial logistic regression analysis. Of 891 subjects, the prevalence of HPV infection was 9.31% (83/891 women) for any-type HPV and 5.05% (46/891 women) for the high-risk HPV (hrHPV). Of 30 HPV subtypes detected, the most prevalent genotypes in descending order of frequency were subtypes 51, 16, 52, 58 and 66 for hrHPV and subtypes 62, 61, 84, 72 and 53 for the low-risk HPV. This frequency distribution of HPV subtypes was different from reports from other countries within Asia. Forty-six virgins studied tested negative for HPV infection. Significant independent risk factors for any-type HPV infection were multiple sexual partners (adjusted OR 1.4) and low (≤6 years) educational level (adjusted OR 4.0). The distribution of HPV subtypes in healthy women varies between different countries within Asia. In Singapore, the prevalence of HPV infection was 9.31% and was related to penetrative sexual intercourse, multiple sexual partners and low educational level.
Keywords: Cigarette smoking; HPV; epidemiology; human papillomavirus; multiple sexual partners; penetrative vaginal sexual intercourse; risk factors; sexual debut; sexually transmitted infection.
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