Intravaginal practices and genital human papillomavirus infection among female sex workers.


eMediNexus    20 July 2018

A new study published in the Journal of Medical Virology investigated associations between intravaginal practices (IVPs) – washing, wiping, or insertion of an object into the vagina, and genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. This was a cross-sectional study which enrolled 200 female sex workers, 18-35 years of age in the year 2014. Data on sociodemographic characteristics and IVPs were collected through interviews; self-collected cervicovaginal specimens were tested for 37 HPV genotypes. The results showed that a lower number of infecting HPV genotypes were associated with intravaginal washing and a similar practice shortly after sex in the past 3 months. Additionally, intravaginal washing before vaginal sex, intravaginal wiping, and intravaginal insertion could not be associated with HPV infection. Hence, the findings suggested that intravaginal washing shortly after sex (mainly with water) may help prevent HPV infection in female sex workers who are frequently exposed to different genotypes of the virus.

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