Hong Kong Med J 1996;2:80-8 | Number 1, March 1996
Genital human papillomavirus infection in Hong Kong
AR Chang
Department of Anatomical and Cellular Pathology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong
This review traces the history of genital human papillomavirus infection and documents its discovery as a venereally transmitted infection. The strong links of human papillomavirus to ano-genital malignancies--particularly carcinoma of the uterine cervix--are outlined. DNA hybridization testing has enabled various subtypes to be identified, some of which are associated with certain malignancies. This new technology has also shown that male transmission of human papillomavirus is important and some men are vulnerable to cancer from the infection. Methods for treating human papillomavirus lesions are discussed. The role of cervical cytological screening in preventing cervical cancer is detailed and cervical cytology, despite the advent of DNA technology, is still the key to preventing cervical cancer. This should be encouraged in Hong Kong which, unfortunately, has an unacceptably low screening rate. Because of changing sexual behaviour, human papillomavirus infection is reaching epidemic proportions worldwide and the infection rate in Hong Kong is probably much higher than was previously thought. The medical profession and the public need to be aware of the consequences of this infection.
Key words: Papillomaviruses; Tumor virus infections; Genital diseases, female; Genital diseases, male; Neoplasms; Vaginal smears
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