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Molecular epidemiology of sexually transmitted human papillomavirus in a self referred group of women in Ireland.BACKGROUND: Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes cervical cancer and external genital warts. The purpose of this study is to document the genotype distribution of HPV in females aged between 18 and 34 who self-referred to an STI clinic with visible external genital warts (EGW). Scrapings were taken from visible external genital warts (EGW). These scrapings were analysed by PCR for the presence of HPV DNA. Positive samples were then genotyped by means of a commercially available assay (LiPA). A comparison of genotyping results determined by the LiPA assay and direct amplicon DNA sequencing was also performed. RESULTS: Ninety-two patients out of 105 samples (88%) had detectable levels of HPV DNA. The majority of individuals with EGW (66%) showed the presence of two or more genotypes. The most common HPV genotypes present in the study population were HPV-6, HPV-11, HPV-16, HPV-18, HPV-33 and HPV-53. Potential effects of vaccination on HPV molecular epidemiology indicate that 40% of the patients could have been protected from the high risk genotypes HPV-16 and HPV-18. CONCLUSION: This is the first report of the molecular epidemiology of external genital warts in women aged between 18 and 34 from Ireland based on results from a LiPA assay. The study shows that most individuals are infected with multiple genotypes including those with high oncogenic potential and that the newly available HPV vaccines could have a significant impact on prevalence of the most common HPV genotypes in this study population.