Prevalence of human papillomavirus and bacteria as sexually transmitted infections in symptomatic and asymptomatic women

Author(s): Yu Kyung Kim, Dae Hyung Lee, Chae Hoon Lee, Young Seop Jung, Chang-Ho Youn & Won Kil Lee*

Background: Sexually transmitted infections (STI) are common around the world, and are an important public health problem. In women, certain STIs, such as human papillomavirus (HPV), gonorrhea, chlamydia and other bacteria are often asymptomatic but can cause complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, infertility, and chronic pelvic pain. This study evaluated the prevalence of HPV and other bacteria causing STIs in healthy and symptomatic women. Methods: A total of 396 women including healthy individuals (53 symptomatic and 343 asymptomatic) were enrolled in this study. Vaginal swab samples were tested by using real-time multiplex PCR for 28 HPVs and 7 bacterial species (AnyplexII HPV28 and AnyplexII STI-7 Detection kit, Seegene, Seoul, Korea). Results: HPV and bacteria (≥ 1 microorganisms) were detected in 25.8% and 63.1% of all subjects, respectively. In symptomatic women, the frequency of HPV and bacteria (≥ 1 microorganisms) was 35.8% (19/53) and 83.0% (44/53), respectively. HPV and bacteria (≥ 1 microorganisms) were detected in 24.2% (83/343) and 60.1% (206/343) of asymptomatic women. Detected microorganisms across subjects were as follows: Ureaplasma parvum (53.0%), Mycoplasma hominis (17.4%), Ureaplasma urealyticum (12.4%), Chlamydia trachomatis (2.8%), Mycoplasma genitalium (1.5%) and Trichomonas vaginalis (1.3%). Neisseria gonorrhoeae was not detected in any subjects. The frequency of bacterial detection in the symptomatic group was significantly higher than in the asymptomatic group; HPV was not differently detected in either group. Conclusion: While HPV screening can be applied to women regardless of STI symptoms, nucleic acid amplification tests of STI bacteria may be useful for symptomatic women.