Prevalence of genital human papillomavirus among females in the United States, the National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003-2006

J Infect Dis. 2011 Aug 15;204(4):566-73. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir341.


Background: Genital human papillomaviruses (HPV) include >40 sexually transmitted viruses. Most HPV infections do not progress to disease, but infection with certain types of HPV can cause cervical and other anogenital and oropharyngeal cancer, and other types of HPV are associated with anogenital warts. HPV vaccines prevent infection with HPV 16 and 18, which account for 70% of cases of cervical cancer, and HPV 6 and 11, which cause 90% of the cases of anogenital warts.

Methods: Using data and self-collected cervicovaginal specimens from 4150 females, 14-59 years of age, from consecutive National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (2003-2006), we estimated the prevalence of type-specific HPV DNA and examined sociodemographic and sexual determinants.

Results: The overall prevalence of HPV was 42.5% in females 14-59 years of age and varied significantly by age, race or ethnicity, and number of sex partners. Individual type prevalence was less than 7%, ranging from <0.5% through 6.5%. The most common type was nononcogenic HPV 62 (found in 6.5% of subjects), followed by HPV 53 and HPV 16 (4.7%), both of which are oncogenic types. The most prevalent species was nononcogenic α3.

Conclusions: HPV infection is common among US females, with the highest burden of infection found in young females 20-24 years of age. Monitoring trends in HPV type distribution will contribute to our understanding of the early impact of HPV vaccines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alphapapillomavirus / classification
  • Alphapapillomavirus / pathogenicity
  • Female
  • Herpes Genitalis / epidemiology*
  • Herpes Genitalis / virology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys*
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology
  • Young Adult