Main Article Content
Aims: to detect and type genital human papillomavirus (HPV) in young female medical and nursing students.
Study Design: Cross sectional study.
Place of Study: The study was conducted in Harare, Zimbabwe at the College of Health Sciences, University of Zimbabwe and Harare Central Hospital’s School of Nursing in 2014.
Methodology: Self-collected cervico-vaginal swab specimens from female college students were processed and genomic DNA extracted. HPV-DNA was detected by consensus polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using two primer sets, MY09/MY11 and GP5+/GP6+. Positive PCR samples were typed by DNA sequencing and bioinformatics analysis.
Results: Cervico-vaginal swabs were self-collected from 125 students. The age range of the participants was 20-25 years with a mean age of first sexual activity of 19.22 years. One hundred and fourteen (114) out of the 125 swabs from the students had genomic DNA successfully extracted. Of these, 36 tested positive for HPV-DNA, giving a prevalence of 31.58%. Both high-risk (HPV 16, 18, 35, 45, 58, 53 and 56) and low-risk (HPV 6, 11, 40, 53, 54, 72, 81 and 86) genotypes were detected among the students.
Conclusion: A high prevalence of HPV infection in medical and nursing students in Harare was observed. Further studies are necessary to establish the true prevalence of HPV types in young and healthy women in Zimbabwe and the data generated will be useful in informing reproductive public health policies.