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Human Papillomavirus Widespread Among U.S. Women

Prevalence cuts across demographic and geographic groups

TUESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- The human papillomavirus (HPV) strains that put women at high risk of cervical cancer are widespread among U.S. women who undergo cervical screening, a finding that could influence whether or not testing for the virus is included in routine screening for cervical cancer, according to a report published in the April 1 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

S. Deblina Datta, M.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from 9,657 women aged 14 to 65 years who underwent routine cervical screening at 26 family planning, primary care and sexually transmitted disease clinics in six U.S. cities. The women were given Pap smears and a high-risk HPV prevalence test using the Hybrid Capture 2 assay.

Overall, 23 percent of the cohort tested positive for high-risk HPV, with a prevalence rate of 35 percent among those aged 14 to 19 years, and just 6 percent among those aged 50 to 65 years, the researchers report.

"Women 30 years of age or older with normal Pap tests had a 9 percent prevalence," the authors write. "Many women 30 years of age or older with normal Pap tests would need follow-up if Hybrid Capture 2 testing is added to cytology screening," the authors conclude.

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