Human papilloma virus infection prior to coitarche

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2009 May;200(5):487.e1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2008.12.028. Epub 2009 Mar 9.


Objective: The aim of our study was to determine the prevalence and the natural course of anogenital human papilloma virus (HPV) infections in girls prior to coitarche attending an outpatient gynecological unit.

Study design: Specimens were taken from the anogenital region of 114 unselected 4-15 year old girls who were referred consecutively for various gynecological problems.

Results: Four girls were excluded because of sexual abuse. Low-risk HPV-deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was detected in 4 girls (3.6%) and high-risk HPV DNA in 15 children (13.6%). Two girls testing positive for HPV DNA had clinical apparent warts. After 1 year, 2 children had persistent high-risk HPV DNA, and in 1 case we found a switch from high-risk to low-risk HPV DNA.

Conclusion: Subclinical genital low- and high-risk HPV infections are common in girls without any history of sexual abuse or sexual activity. We found persistence of genital HPV infection in children, which could be a reservoir for HPV-associated diseases later in life.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Abstinence*
  • Uterine Cervical Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Uterine Cervical Diseases / virology*


  • DNA, Viral