Cervical cancer ranks as the first most frequent cancer among women in Benin. The major cause of cervical cancer now recognized is persistent infection of Human Papillomavirus (HPV). In Benin there is a lack of screening programs for prevention of cervical cancer and little information exists regarding HPV genotype distribution.
Cervical cells from 725 women were examined for the presence of viral DNA by means of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) multiplex-based assay with the amplification of a fragment of L1 region and of E6/E7 region of the HPV genome, and of abnormal cytology by Papanicolaou method. The association between HPV status and Pap test reports was evaluated. Socio-demographic and reproductive characteristics were also related.
A total of 18 different HPV types were identified, with a prevalence of 33.2% overall, and 52% and 26.7% among women with and without cervical lesions, respectively. Multiple HPV infections were observed in 40.2% of HPV-infected women. In the HPV-testing group, the odds ratio for the detection of abnormal cytology was 2.98 (95% CI, 1.83-4.84) for HPV positive in comparison to HPV negative women. High risk types were involved in 88% of infections, most notably HPV-59, HPV-35, HPV-16, HPV-18, HPV-58 and HPV-45. In multiple infections of women with cytological abnormalities HPV-45 predominated.
This study provides the first estimates of the prevalence of HPV and type-specific distribution among women from Benin and demonstrates that the epidemiology of HPV infection in Benin is different from that of other world regions. Specific area vaccinations may be needed to prevent cervical cancer and the other HPV-related diseases.