Age-specific prevalence of human papillomavirus infection in males: a global review

J Adolesc Health. 2011 Jun;48(6):540-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.03.010.


Purpose: Global data on age-specific prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in males, especially for oncogenic HPV types 16 and 18, are essential for future efforts to prevent HPV-related diseases, including expanded access to HPV prophylactic vaccines for boys and young men.

Methods: A systematic review of peer-reviewed publications was conducted to summarize worldwide data on genital HPV-DNA prevalence in men. Studies using polymerase chain reaction or hybrid capture detection assays were included.

Results: Approximately 6,600 abstracts were identified. Of them, 64 reported age-specific HPV prevalence and were included in the review. Of these, 38 were from populations at high risk of HPV infections, such as sexually transmitted infection clinic attendees, human immunodeficiency virus-positive males, and male partners of women with HPV infection or abnormal cytology. The largest proportions of studies were from Europe (38%) and North America (25%), with smaller proportions from Central and South America (19%), Asia (11%), and Africa (5%). Across all regions, data on HPV prevalence were generally limited to men >18 years of age. HPV prevalence was high among sexually active men in all regions but with considerable variation, from 1% to 84% among low-risk men and from 2% to 93% among high-risk men. Peak HPV prevalence spanned a wide range of ages and was generally not concentrated in the younger age groups. Age-specific prevalence curves were relatively flat or declined only slightly following peak prevalence.

Conclusions: Genital HPV infection in men varies widely, both between and within high- and low-risk groups and by geographic region. Compared with that in women, HPV prevalence in men seems to peak at slightly older ages and remains constant or decreases slightly with increasing age, suggesting persistent HPV infection or a higher rate of reinfection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Female
  • Global Health
  • Human papillomavirus 16 / genetics
  • Human papillomavirus 16 / isolation & purification*
  • Human papillomavirus 18 / genetics
  • Human papillomavirus 18 / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Men's Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / etiology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors


  • DNA, Viral