Background: Little is known about the epidemiology of oral human papillomavirus (HPV) in Latin America.
Methods: Women (N = 5838) aged 22-29 in the control and vaccine arms of an HPV-16/18 vaccine trial in Costa Rica had oral, cervical, and anal specimens collected. Samples were tested for alpha mucosal HPV types (SPF10/LiPA25 version 1); a subset of oral samples (n = 500) was tested for cutaneous HPV types in the genera alpha, beta, gamma, mu, and nu.
Results: In the control arm (n = 2926), 1.9% of women had an oral alpha mucosal HPV detected, 1.3% had carcinogenic HPV, and 0.4% had HPV-16; similar patterns for non-16/18 HPV types were observed in the vaccine arm. Independent risk factors for any oral alpha mucosal HPV among women in the control arm included marital status (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 3.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.8-5.7 for single compared to married/living as married), number of sexual partners (AOR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.0-6.1 for ≥4 partners compared to 0-1 partners), chronic sinusitis (AOR, 3.1; 95% CI, 1.5-6.7), and cervical HPV infection (AOR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.4-4.6). Detection of beta HPV was common (18.6%) and not associated with sexual activity.
Conclusions: Unlike cutaneous HPV types, alpha mucosal HPV types were uncommon in the oral region and were predominately associated with sexual behavior. Clinical Trials Registration. NCT00128661.
Keywords: Costa Rica; Guanacaste; HPV; human papillomavirus vaccine; oral HPV DNA; oropharynx cancer.