Sexually Abused Children at Risk of Genital HPV Infection

Detection of genital human papillomavirus more likely in children with evidence of sexual abuse

MONDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Detection of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is significantly more likely in sexually abused children than those without evidence of child sexual abuse (CSA), and increases with certainty of abuse, according to a study published online Aug. 15 in Pediatrics.

Elizabeth R. Unger, M.D., Ph.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues assessed the epidemiology of HPV infection in children without previous consensual sexual activity and compared its prevalence according to certainty of CSA. Of the 579 participants, 89.9 percent of them girls, aged 6 months to 13 years, 534 were evaluated for CSA, and 42 for unrelated reasons. CSA certainty was classified as definite, probable, possible, and no evidence of CSA, on the basis of published guidelines and the results of history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. HPV was detected from urine samples and swabs of external genitalia using the L1 consensus polymerase chain reaction.

The investigators found that, in those patients evaluated for CSA, 14 had genital warts. In patients with adequate samples, one or more HPV types were detected in 11.8 percent. Abused participants were significantly more likely to have HPV than those without evidence of abuse (13.7 versus 1.3 percent). Likelihood of HPV detection increased with certainty of abuse (8.4, 15.6, and 14.5 percent in patients with possible, probable, and definite CSA, respectively). A significantly higher prevalence of HPV was seen in patients who were aged 10 years or older than younger patients (20.6 versus 5.6 percent). HPV detection was independently correlated with CSA, anogenital warts, and age.

"HPV detection was associated with CSA and increased with CSA certainty," the authors write.

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Physician’s Briefing Staff

Physician’s Briefing Staff

Published on August 15, 2011

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