High frequency of human papillomavirus detection in the vagina before first vaginal intercourse among females enrolled in a longitudinal cohort study

J Infect Dis. 2013 Mar 15;207(6):1012-5. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jis775. Epub 2012 Dec 13.


Background: Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is believed to be primarily sexually transmitted. Few studies have documented the detection of HPV in the vagina before first vaginal intercourse.

Methods: We used a longitudinally followed cohort of adolescent females without prior vaginal intercourse to examine the frequency of detection of vaginal HPV and the association between first reported HPV detection and noncoital sexual behaviors.

Results: HPV was detected in 45.5% of subjects (10 of 22) before first vaginal sex. Seven of these 10 subjects reported noncoital behaviors that, in part, might have explained genital transmission.

Conclusions: HPV can be detected in the vagina before first sexual intercourse, highlighting the need for early vaccination.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coitus
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Papillomavirus Infections / transmission*
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vagina / virology*