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Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1994 Nov;101(11):992-8.

Human papillomavirus vulvitis: a new disease or an unfortunate mistake?

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  • 1Dermogynaecology Clinic, Mercy Hospital for Women, Melbourne, Australia.



To determine whether human papillomavirus (HPV) was responsible for symptoms in women with vulvar pruritus, pain and superficial dyspareunia who had been referred with a diagnosis of HPV vulvar disease made on clinical and/or colposcopic and/or histological grounds.


In addition to standard clinical and laboratory investigations of the whole population, a sample of 15 test cases from the population of 71 women referred with a clinicopathological diagnosis of HPV vulvar disease, and two positive and 21 negative controls were assayed for HPV DNA. Polymerase chain reaction assays using L1 consensus primers were performed blinded to the clinicopathological diagnosis.


Dermogynaecology Clinic at Mercy Hospital for Women.


Seventy-one women referred with a diagnosis of HPV vulvar disease.


Thirteen cases which could be tested for HPV DNA were negative. Diagnoses other than HPV were found for the women's presentation in all cases.


In the population studied, our investigations indicated that the clinicopathological diagnosis of HPV infection was incorrect and that HPV was not a cause of vulvar symptoms. We believe that the term HPV vulvitis is unfortunate as it has invited destructive treatments and drawn attention away from more likely causes of this difficult group of vulvar conditions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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