The prevalence of human papillomavirus and its impact on cervical dysplasia in Northern Canada
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INTRODUCTION: Certain types of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) are sexually transmitted and highly associated with development of cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer but the distribution of HPV infection in the North, particularly amongst First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples, is little known. The purposes of the study are to identify the prevalence of type-specific HPV infections and the association of different HPV types with cervical dysplasia among women in Northern Canada. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study with attendants of the routine or scheduled Pap testing program in the Northwest Territories (NWT), Nunavut, Labrador and Yukon, Canada. Approximately half of each sample was used for Pap test and the remaining was used for HPV genotyping using a Luminex-based method. Pap test results, HPV types, and demographic information were linked for analyses. RESULTS: Results from 14,598 specimens showed that HPV infection was approximately 50% higher among the Aboriginal than the non-Aboriginal population (27.6% vs. 18.5%). Although the most common HPV type detected was HPV 16 across region, the prevalence of other high risk HPV types was different. The age-specific HPV prevalence among Aboriginal showed a 'U' shape which contrasted to non-Aboriginal. The association of HPV infection with cervical dysplasia was similar in both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations. CONCLUSIONS: The HPV prevalence was higher in Northern Canada than in other Areas in Canada. The prevalence showed a higher rate of other high risk HPV infections but no difference of HPV 16/18 infections among Aboriginal in comparison with non-Aboriginal women. This study provides baseline information on HPV prevalence that may assist in surveillance and evaluation systems to track and assess HPV vaccine programs.
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