To investigate the prevalence of and the risk factors for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in South Korea, we interviewed and examined a randomly selected sample of 863 sexually active women (age range = 20-74 years, median 44) and 103 self-reported virgins from Busan. The presence of DNA of 34 different HPV types in cervical exfoliated cells was tested among sexually active women by means of a PCR-based assay. IgG antibodies against L1 virus-like particles (anti-VLPs) of HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33 and 58 were also evaluated by means of ELISA. The overall prevalence of HPV DNA was 10.4% (95% confidence interval, CI: 8.5-12.7%). The most often found HPV DNA types were HPV 70, HPV 16 and HPV 33; 19.8% (95% CI: 17.2-22.0) of sexually active women had antibodies against one or more HPV types. The most common anti-VLPs were against HPV 18, 31 and 16. Prevalences standardized by age on the basis of the world standard population were 13.0% for HPV DNA and 17.1% for anti-VLPs. The concordance between the 2 HPV markers at an individual level was modest, but the risk factors for detection of HPV DNA and anti-VLPs were similar: number of lifetime sexual partners (odds ratio, OR for >/= 4 vs. 1 = 3.5 and 5.4, respectively), seropositivity for herpes simplex virus-2 antibodies (OR = 2.6 and 2.5, respectively) and being single or divorced. HPV DNA, but not anti-VLPs, were elevated among women whose husbands were thought by their wives to have extra-marital affairs and those who had undergone vasectomy. Among 103 virgins, 4.9% had anti-VLPs (1/73 among those aged 24 years or less).
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.