Invasive cervical cancer (ICC) is the second leading cause of cancer related mortality among women in India. Human papillomavirus (HPV), the etiological agent of cervical cancer is widely prevalent worldwide. Persistent HPV infection, particularly with HPV 16, is essential for progression to cervical cancer. Human papillomavirus 16 and 18 are the most common genotypes detected among Indian HIV-infected and uninfected women, although their relative contributions vary. HIV-infected Indian women experience a higher risk for HPV infection compared to the general population. Although cervical screening and vaccination to protect against HPV infection are the two main strategies for prevention, there are significant challenges to their implementation in India. Scaling up of cervical screening using simple, rapid tests followed by colposcopy and treatment within a minimal number of visits is essential to prevent loss to followup. Increasing the uptake of the HPV vaccine combined with cervical screening can greatly reduce the burden of ICC in India.

Keywords: Cervical cancer, Human papillomavirus, Cervical screening, Human papillomavirus vaccination.

How to cite this article: Menezes LJ, Jang SE, Ross DJ, Glaser AD, Varghese R. Cervical HPV Infection in Indian Women: Screening and Immunization as Preventive Strategies. MGM J Med Sci 2014;1(2):65-75.

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Conflict of interest: None