Agorastos T, Chatzistamatiou K, Zafrakas M, Siamanta V, Katsamagkas T, Constantinidis TC, Lampropoulos AF; LYSISTRATA study group.
The objective of this study was to assess the overall prevalence of the human papilloma virus (HPV) infection and distribution of high-risk HPV (hrHPV) types in Greece and evaluate the participation of women in primary and secondary cervical cancer prevention. This was a prospective, cross-sectional study carried out between October 2005 and January 2011 in Greece; 5379 women filled out the study questionnaire anonymously. 5107 women underwent cervical HPV-DNA testing, either by Hybrid Capture 2, followed by restriction fragment length polymorphism-PCR, or by the Abbott Real-Time High-Risk HPV test. Overall, 5.8% (295/5107) of women were positive for hrHPV infection. The most common hrHPV type was HPV-16 (24.8% among infected women; 1.4% overall), followed by HPV types 31, 35, 53, 18, 51, 56, 58, 52, 39, 66, 45, 33, 59, and 68. In respect to primary prevention of cervical cancer, acceptance of anti-HPV vaccination appeared to decrease over time (from 85-89.9% annually during 2005-2008 to 64.4-60.5% during 2009-2010, P<0.001). In respect to secondary prevention, only 30.3% of women had regular (annually for more than 5 years) Pap smears; regular gynecologic examinations, Papanicolaou testing, and knowledge of HPV were all associated with various demographic parameters (age, education, place of residence, occupation, and income). The prevalence of hrHPV infection in Greece is similar to that in other European countries; the most common type is HPV-16. The initially relatively high acceptance of HPV vaccination decreased after licensing of the vaccine. Demographic parameters appear to influence participation in cervical cancer screening.