Persistent infection of High Risk (HR) Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection can lead to cervical cancer. The HPV genotypes
are found worldwide, but important regional variations have been found. For a population-based HPV type prevalence study to assess
the effect of existing and new prevention methods, frequently updated information on the burden of cervical cancer is essential.
We evaluated the prevalence of HPV genotypes in a volunteer population screened for cervical cancer at the Local Health Unit (LHU) of
Lecce. A total of 9,720 women were studied. The tests were performed by INNO-Lipa HPV Genotyping and LINEAR ARRAY HPV
Genotyping Test. The overall HPV prevalence was 29.7% (95% CI, 28.8-30.6) for any HPV DNA. The prevalent type for all age groups
was HPV 16 (7.4%; CI, 6.9-7.9) followed by HPV 31 (3.4%; CI, 3.0-3.7), 51 (3.0%; CI, 2.6-3.3), 52 (2.7%; CI, 2.3-3.0) and 58 (2.4%;
CI, 2.1-2.7). HPV 53 was the most common low-risk HPV type with prevalence rate of 3.5 (CI, 3.1-3.8), followed by HPV 66 (3.0; CI,
2.6-3.3), 6 (2.9; CI, 2.6-3.2) and 42 (2.5; CI, 2.2-2.8). Multiple infections were present in 13.6% of HPV-tested women (CI, 12.9-14.3).
Among these, the most common combination was of HPV 16 and HPV 52 genotypes.
This study reports high prevalence of HPV infection and may serve as a valuable reference for assessing the impact of HPV vaccination
programs. Furthermore, it supports the need for new vaccines that contain the most common HPV genotypes present in the population.