If Papillomavirus Found Universally in Epidermal Tissues, what does that Mean if a PCR Pap Test is Positive?

Craig G. Burkhart*, 1, Craig N. Burkhart2
1 University of Toledo College of Medicine, USA
2 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

© 2009 Burkhart and Burkhart

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the University of Toledo School of Medicine, 5600 Monroe Street, Suite 106B, Sylvania, OH 43560, USA.


Present evidence infers that if degenerate consensus polymerase chain reaction sets were available to amplify all human papillomavirus (HPV) types found in skin, the virus would be found universally in all human epithelia skin. This explains existence of two or more HPV types found in verruca vulgaris, and presence of genital HPV carriage in virgins. HPV colonization probably offers some protective properties to the host.

With the development of real-time polymerase chain reaction and mRNA testing for cervical neoplasia, a question remains as to clinical significance of a positive smear in the absence of clinical disease. In summary, if there is only one genotype of virus present on Pap smear, this is totally normal and there may be no pathology to address.