METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study where 1293 healthy women aged between 18 and 60 years were recruited via convenience sampling from five community-based clinics in Selangor, Malaysia. Cervicovaginal self-samples were obtained and DNA was extracted for HPV detection and genotyping. A comprehensive questionnaire was administered to determine the sociodemographics and behavioural patterns of participants.
RESULTS: The median age at enrolment was 37 years old (IQR: 30-47). In total, 86/1190 (7.2%) of the samples collected were positive for HPV infection, with the highest HPV prevalence (11.9%) detected in the subgroup of 18-24 years old. The top three most prevalent HPV genotypes were HPV 16, 52 and 58. The independent risk factors associated with higher rates of HPV infection included Indian ethnicity, widowed status and women with partners who are away from home for long periods and/or has another sexual partner.
CONCLUSIONS: The overall prevalence of HPV infection in this Malaysian multiethnic population was 7.2%, with 6.5% being high-risk genotypes. The top three most common high-risk HPV types were HPV 16, 52 and 58. This information is important for the planning of primary (HPV vaccination) and secondary (screening) cervical cancer prevention programmes in Malaysia.