The optimal anatomic sites for sampling heterosexual men for human papillomavirus (HPV) detection: the HPV detection in men study

J Infect Dis. 2007 Oct 15;196(8):1146-52. doi: 10.1086/521629. Epub 2007 Sep 17.


Background. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in men contributes to infection and cervical disease in women as well as to disease in men. This study aimed to determine the optimal anatomic site(s) for HPV detection in heterosexual men.Methods. A cross-sectional study of HPV infection was conducted in 463 men from 2003 to 2006. Urethral, glans penis/coronal sulcus, penile shaft/prepuce, scrotal, perianal, anal canal, semen, and urine samples were obtained. Samples were analyzed for sample adequacy and HPV DNA by polymerase chain reaction and genotyping. To determine the optimal sites for estimating HPV prevalence, site-specific prevalences were calculated and compared with the overall prevalence. Sites and combinations of sites were excluded until a recalculated prevalence was reduced by <5% from the overall prevalence.Results. The overall prevalence of HPV was 65.4%. HPV detection was highest at the penile shaft (49.9% for the full cohort and 47.9% for the subcohort of men with complete sampling), followed by the glans penis/coronal sulcus (35.8% and 32.8%) and scrotum (34.2% and 32.8%). Detection was lowest in urethra (10.1% and 10.2%) and semen (5.3% and 4.8%) samples. Exclusion of urethra, semen, and either perianal, scrotal, or anal samples resulted in a <5% reduction in prevalence.Conclusions. At a minimum, the penile shaft and the glans penis/coronal sulcus should be sampled in heterosexual men. A scrotal, perianal, or anal sample should also be included for optimal HPV detection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alphapapillomavirus / genetics
  • Alphapapillomavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Anal Canal / virology
  • Arizona / epidemiology
  • Carrier State / virology
  • Condylomata Acuminata / diagnosis
  • Condylomata Acuminata / epidemiology
  • Condylomata Acuminata / virology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Florida / epidemiology
  • Genital Neoplasms, Male / epidemiology
  • Genital Neoplasms, Male / virology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Papillomavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology*
  • Penis / virology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prevalence
  • Scrotum / virology
  • Specimen Handling / methods*


  • DNA, Viral