Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection. The effect of HPV on public health is especially related to the burden of anogenital cancers, most notably cervical cancer. Determinants of exposure to HPV are similar to those for most sexually transmitted infections, but determinants of susceptibility and infectivity are much less well established. Gaps exist in understanding of interactions between HPV, HIV, and other sexually transmitted infections. The roles of mucosal immunology, human microbiota at mucosal surfaces, host genetic factors and hormonal concentrations on HPV susceptibility and infectivity are poorly understood, as are the level of effectiveness of some primary or secondary preventive measures other than HPV vaccination (such as condoms, male circumcision, and combination antiretroviral therapy for HIV). Prospective couples studies, studies focusing on mucosal immunology, and in-vitro raft culture studies mimicking HPV infection might increase understanding of the dynamics of HPV transmission.
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