Influence of partner's infection status on prevalent human papillomavirus among persons with a new sex partner

Sex Transm Dis. 2010 Jan;37(1):34-40. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e3181b35693.


Background: We evaluated the influence of the partner's human papillomavirus (HPV) status and sexual practices on prevalent HPV infection among new couples to study HPV transmission.

Methods: Women attending university or college in Montreal, Canada, and their male partners (N = 263 couples) were enrolled in 2005-2008. HPV typing was done in self-collected vaginal swabs and clinician-collected penis and scrotum swabs. The outcome measures were overall and type-specific HPV prevalence.

Results: HPV was detected in 56% of women and men. Prevalence was higher among persons with infected partners (85%) than in those whose partners were negative (19%). Type-specific detection was substantially higher among women (OR = 55.2, 95% CI: 38.0-80.1) and men (OR = 58.7, 95% CI: 39.8-86.3) if their partner harbored the type under consideration. Prevalence among women and men with 10 or more lifetime partners was 15.4 (95% CI: 5.9-40.2) and 9.5 (95% CI: 4.4-19.8) times higher than among those with 1 partner. Frequent condom use was protective in men, particularly if his partner was HPV-infected (OR = 0.64, 95% CI: 0.50-0.82). This effect was attenuated among women with an infected partner (OR = 0.88, 95% CI: 0.69-1.11).

Conclusions: The current partner's status was the most important risk factor for prevalent HPV infection. Condoms exerted a stronger protective effect among men than among women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alphapapillomavirus / classification
  • Condoms
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Infections / transmission*
  • Prevalence
  • Quebec / epidemiology
  • Safe Sex
  • Sexual Partners*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / transmission*