Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is frequent in young women and persistent infection may lead to cervical cancer. Therefore, vaccination against HPV is recommended for young women in the age group from 12-17 years in Germany. However, epidemiological data on the prevalence of HPV types and risk factors for infection for younger women in Germany is scarce. To address this, an observational study was performed in Germany including 1,692 women aged 10-30 years. After a routine Pap smear, cervical swabs were tested for high-risk and low-risk HPV, respectively, using the Hybrid Capture 2 (HC2) test, and genotyped using the PCR-based tests SPF(10)/LiPA(25) and PapilloCheck®. In addition, the women were interviewed regarding their medical history and lifestyle factors. Three hundred seventy-seven (22.28%) women had positive HC2 results. The proportion of HPV positive women was highest in the 20-22 age group with 28.3%. Predominant HPV types were HPV 16, 42, 51 and HPV 16, 51, 31 as defined by PapilloCheck® and SPF(10)/LiPA(25), respectively. 95.8% of women did not show signs of any cervical lesion. Adjusted analysis identified number of sexual partners (OR:1.105; 95% CI:[1.069-1.142]), smoking (OR:1.508; [1.155-1.968]), and vaccination against HPV (OR:0.589; [0.398-0.872]) rather than increasing age as risk associated with HPV infection. Comparison of the genotyping assays showed that they correspond well regarding the high-risk HPV types but less well for low-risk HPV types. This epidemiological study shows that high-risk HPV infection is common in young women in Germany. According to our data, vaccination of young women could have a potential impact on the prevention of HPV infection and cervical disease.
© 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.