Volume 53, Issue 4-5 p. 253-258
Article
Free Access

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection in Southern Africa: Prevalence, Immunity, and Vaccine Prospects

Anna-Lise Williamson

Anna-Lise Williamson

Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Observatory 7925, Cape Town, South Africa.

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Dianne Marais

Dianne Marais

Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Observatory 7925, Cape Town, South Africa.

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Jo-Ann Passmore

Jo-Ann Passmore

Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Observatory 7925, Cape Town, South Africa.

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Ed Rybicki

Ed Rybicki

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Cape Town, Observatory 7925, Cape Town, South Africa.

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First published: 03 January 2008
Citations: 19

Abstract

Human papillomavirus (HPV) associated cancers are more prevalent in developing countries compared to developed countries. The major cancer caused by HPV is cervical cancer. The humoral immune response to HPV can be a marker of past infection but may also reflect persistent infection and cervical disease. IgA antibodies to HPV in oral fluid were also found to be markers of cervical disease. Cell mediated immunity is important in clearing HPV infection and for regression of the associated lesions: this means that women infected with HIV have a high prevalence of co-infection with HPV. Good cervical screening programmes can control HPV associated cervical neoplasia. However, in countries such as South Africa, where these programmes are inadequate, there is a need for an HPV vaccine. The development of HPV vaccines is reviewed. There is a call for an inexpensive vaccine that will be accessible to the women that do not have access to adequate screening programmes and are therefore at the greatest risk of cervical cancer.