Aim of Study: To investigate the prevalence of high‐risk human papillomavirus (HPV) and its associated cytological abnormalities among women attending cervical screening clinics in southern Malaysia and Singapore.
Method: Laboratory results of Hybrid Capture‐II (Digene) HPV DNA and liquid‐based cytology tests of consecutive women who had screening performed between January 2004 and December 2006 were studied retrospectively.
Results: Of 2364 women studied, the overall prevalence of high‐risk HPV DNA detection rate was 25.6%. The prevalence peaked at 49.1% for women between 20 and 24 years old and declined to 23% among women between the age of 30 and 49 years. A small second peak of prevalence rate of 30% was observed among women above the age of 50 years old. 76.1% of the high‐risk HPV infection regressed within the study period. An incidence infection rate of 16% was noted among a small group of women who had a second HPV DNA test. A total of 1153 women had both the HPV DNA and the cytology tests. Cytological abnormality (ASCUS or more) was detected in 8.9% in HPV DNA‐positive group and in 3.1% in HPV DNA‐negative group (P < 0.001). The risk ratio for HSIL was 9.8 for HPV‐positive women compared to HPV‐negative women. The prevalence of cytological abnormalities increased with increasing age of the women. Conclusion: The epidemiology and clinical impact of high‐risk HPV infection for women in Southern Malaysia and Singapore were indistinguishable from experience elsewhere. The apparent moderately high incidence of cervical cancer was explainable by suboptimal screening program.