Oral sexual behaviors associated with prevalent oral human papillomavirus infection

J Infect Dis. 2009 May 1;199(9):1263-9. doi: 10.1086/597755.


Oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is a cause of oropharyngeal cancer. We investigated whether sexual behaviors that elevated the odds of oropharyngeal cancer developing in a case-control study similarly elevated the odds of oral HPV infection developing among control patients. HPV infection was detected in 4.8% of 332 control patients from an outpatient clinic and in 2.9% of 210 college-aged men (age range, 18-23 years). Among control patients, the odds of infection developing independently increased with increases in the lifetime number of oral (P = .007, for trend) or vaginal sex partners (P = .003, for trend). Among college-aged men, the odds of oral HPV infection developing increased with increases in the number of recent oral sex partners (P = .046, for trend) or open-mouthed kissing partners (P = .023, for trend) but not vaginal sex partners. Oral sex and open-mouthed kissing are associated with the development of oral HPV infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / immunology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / virology
  • Heterosexuality
  • Homosexuality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Mouth Diseases / virology*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / immunology
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / virology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / immunology
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Prevalence
  • Racial Groups
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines