Background: Although extensive information has been gathered about the prevalence and determinants of human papillomavirus infection among women, little is known about the prevalence and natural history of this infection among males.
Goal: To investigate the potential usefulness of urine specimens to assess the presence of genital human papillomavirus DNA infection.
Study design: The authors conducted a study of 120 healthy men from Cuernavaca, Mexico. A urine specimen and urethral and coronal sulcus swab samples were collected and tested for human papillomavirus using the GP5+/6+ polymerase chain reaction enzyme immunoassay method.
Results: In 95% of the urethral-coronal sulcus samples, the beta-globin gene was detectable, indicating adequacy of the specimen for DNA amplification; however, only 14% of the urine specimens had detectable beta-globin. Removal of inhibitors by DNA purification in a sample of subjects produced beta-globin amplification, but no increase in human papillomavirus DNA positivity was detected. Human papillomavirus DNA was not detectable in penile-urethral swab samples in any of the subjects who reported not having engaged in sexual activity but was present in 43% of men who reported sexual activity, a strong indication of the sexual transmission of human papillomavirus.
Conclusions: Human papillomavirus is a common sexually transmitted infection among Mexican males, and urine sample specimens cannot adequately detect the presence of this infection in males.