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South African Dental Journal

On-line version ISSN 0375-1562
Print version ISSN 0011-8516


WOOD, NH; MOTLOBA, PD; MAKWAKWA, LN  and  BOGERS, JP. Oral and Oropharyngeal HPV prevalence in South Africa. A systematic review and meta-analysis. S. Afr. dent. j. [online]. 2021, vol.76, n.10, pp.632-639. ISSN 0375-1562.

BACKGROUND: Prevalence data for HPV infection in the head and neck in Southern African populations is lacking. In addition to cervical cancer, this sexually transmitted oncogenic virus is responsible for a subset of head and neck cancer and is transmitted via oral sexual routes, and through other forms of intimate contact between anatomical sites lined by mucosa. This systematic review and meta-analyses aimed to synthesize data for the prevalence of head and neck HPV infection in South Africa. Original research papers from South Africa reporting on the prevalence of HPV in the head and neck was systematically reviewed using PubMed, Ovid Medline, Embase and the Cochrane Library. A meta-analysis on the prevalence data was conducted for 16 papers that met the inclusion criteria. MAIN TEXT: This systematic review and meta-analysis reports a pooled prevalence for head and neck HPV infection of 11%. The study shows both a shortage of, and a data lag for HPV prevalence studies in the head and neck of Southern African populations. Technological improvement over time, differences in data collection methodology, differences in laboratory analysis processes and differences in the selection of study populations including various population risk levels all influence the prevalence measurement outcome. CONCLUSION: Prevalence reporting for head and neck HPV in South Africa is lagging with only a few reports in existence over a 25-year period. The overall pooled prevalence of 11% is slightly higher than global averages. Populations comprising higher risk groups exhibit higher HPV prevalence rates which is in part influenced by the existence of comorbidities in these groups. Methodologic and study design consistencies and standardization will improve prevalence reporting in this geographic region.

Keywords : HPV prevalence; oropharynx; oral; HPV; human papillomavirus.

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