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BMC Infect Dis. 2013 Nov 9;13:531. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-13-531.

Human papillomavirus and other genital infections in indigenous women from Paraguay: a cross-sectional analytical study.

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Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, Health Sciences Research Institute (IICS), National University of Asuncion (UNA), Rio de la Plata y Lagerenza, 1120, 2511, Asunción, Paraguay.



The incidence of cervical cancer in Paraguay is among the highest in the world, with the human papillomavirus (HPV) being a necessary factor for cervical cancer. Knowledge about HPV infection among indigenous women is limited. This cross-sectional study analyzed the frequency of HPV and other genital infections in indigenous Paraguayan women of the Department of Presidente Hayes.


This study included 181 sexually active women without cervical lesions. They belonged to the following ethnicities: Maká (n = 40); Nivaclé (n = 23); Sanapaná (n = 33); Enxet Sur (n = 51) and Toba-Qom (n = 34). The detection of HPV and other gynecological infectious microorganisms was performed by either molecular methods (for Mycoplasma hominis, Ureaplasma urealyticum, Chlamydia trachomatis), gram staining and/or culture (for Gardnerella vaginalis, Candida sp, Trichomonas vaginalis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae), serological methods (for Treponema pallidum, human immunodeficiency virus [HIV]) or cytology (cervical inflammation).


A high prevalence (41.4%) of women positive for at least one sexually transmitted infection (STI) was found (23.2% any-type HPV, 11.6% T pallidum, 10.5% T vaginalis, 9.9% C trachomatis and 0.6% HIV) with 12.2% having more than one STI. HPV infection was the most frequent, with 16.1% of women positive for high-risk HPV types. There was a statistically significant association observed between any-type HPV and C trachomatis (p = 0.004), which indicates that the detection of one of these agents should suggest the presence of the other. There was no association between any-type HPV and other genital infections or cervical inflammation, suggesting that other mechanism could exist to favor infection with the virus.


This multidisciplinary work suggests that STIs are frequent, making it necessary to implement control measures and improve diagnosis in order to increase the number of cases detected, especially in populations with poor access to health centers.

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