Genital human papillomavirus infection in female university students as determined by a PCR-based method

JAMA. 1991 Jan 23-30;265(4):472-7.


The presence of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) was determined at cervical and vulvar sites using two methods, the Food and Drug Administration-approved ViraPap test and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) DNA amplification technology, in 467 women presenting to a university health service for a routine annual gynecologic examination. The PCR system afforded the sensitive detection of a broad spectrum of genital HPV types. Using PCR, we found that 46% of the study population was infected with HPV; the ViraPap test showed a prevalence of 11% infected. PCR analyses demonstrated that 69% of the HPV-positive women were infected at both genital sites. Subsequent HPV-type determination showed that 33% of the study population had HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, or other previously isolated types, and 13% had yet unidentified types. Almost all (92%) of the women diagnosed by Papanicolaou smear with condylomatous atypia or dysplasia (n = 12) were HPV positive. The PCR method proved to be an informative and rapid way to detect HPV in large numbers of clinical samples. Our results demonstrate that genital HPV infection is common among sexually active young women.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Condylomata Acuminata / diagnosis
  • Condylomata Acuminata / microbiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DNA Probes, HPV
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Oligonucleotide Probes
  • Papanicolaou Test
  • Papillomaviridae* / genetics
  • Papillomaviridae* / isolation & purification
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction*
  • Risk Factors
  • Tumor Virus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Cervical Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / microbiology
  • Vaginal Smears
  • Vulvar Diseases / diagnosis*


  • DNA Probes, HPV
  • DNA, Viral
  • Oligonucleotide Probes