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Int J STD AIDS. 2018 Jul;29(8):776-780. doi: 10.1177/0956462418755882. Epub 2018 Feb 22.

Oropharyngeal HPV infection: prevalence and sampling methods among HIV-infected men in South Africa.

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1 Wits RHI, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
2 National Institute for Communicable Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa.
3 London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.


Worldwide, 96,000 cases of oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) occurred in 2012. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a risk factor for OPC. Data on oropharyngeal HPV infection are limited. There is no consensus on the best sampling method for detecting the infection. We describe the prevalence of oropharyngeal HPV infection among HIV-infected men and compare the performance of oral rinses and swabs in detecting oropharyngeal HPV infection. Paired oral rinses and swabs for 181 men were tested for HPV DNA using the Roche Linear Array. Performance was determined by the number of infections detected and the percentage of samples with adequate DNA extraction. Agreement between sampling methods was assessed by the kappa statistic. Prevalence of oropharyngeal HPV infection with rinse samples was 1.8% (three infections) and 0.6% (one infection) with swabs (p = 0.06). Adequate cellular DNA extraction was more likely with rinse (93.4%) than swab samples (89.0%, p = 0.05). There was moderate agreement between the methods (kappa = 0.49). The prevalence of oropharyngeal HPV DNA infection among this predominantly heterosexual sample of men living with HIV was low and consistent with the infrequent oral sex practices. Oral rinse performed better than oral swab in detecting oropharyngeal HPV DNA infection and might contribute to screening for OPCs.


Africa; Human papillomavirus; men; oral cavity; oral sex

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