Background: The optimal age for administration of recently approved prophylactic human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines remains undetermined.
Objectives: The aim of the study was to explore the age-specific seroprevalence of HPV 16 and 18 in the general population to design an HPV vaccination campaign for Taiwan.
Study design: HPV seroprevalence was assessed by virus-like particle (VLP)-based ELISA in 1702 plasma samples collected in 1999.
Results: The sample population consisted of 1000 (58.8%) females and 702 (41.2%) males; age ranged from 17 days to 86 years. The age-specific distributions reveal a significant rise in HPV 16 seropositivity commencing at 19-25 years of age and peaking at >60 years. The trend of seropositivity increase with age was also highly significant for HPV 18 (P(Trend)<0.0001). Males had lower overall seroprevalence in gender comparison (7.6% versus 3.85% for HPV 16, 3.9% versus 2.71% for HPV 18), were older at seroconversion (19-25 years versus 26-30 years) with a more obvious seropositivity nadir in middle age.
Conclusion: The age-specific seroprevalence of HPV 16 and 18 increases in young adults after the age of 18 years, with gender distribution varying. We conclude that the optimal age for universal HPV vaccination in Taiwan is 15 years or below.