Epidemiology of oral human papillomavirus infection

Oral Oncol. 2014 May;50(5):364-9. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2013.09.003. Epub 2013 Sep 27.


Objective: To describe what is known about the epidemiology of oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.

Methods: In this article we review current data on HPV prevalence, natural history, mode of acquisition, and risk factors for oral HPV infection.

Results & conclusion: Over the past several years new studies have informed our understanding of oral HPV infection. These data suggest oral HPV prevalence is higher in men than women and support the sexual transmission of HPV to the mouth by oral sex. Data is emerging suggesting that most oral HPV infections usually clear within a year on and describing risk factors for prevalent and persistent infection. Recent data support likely efficacy of the HPV vaccine for oral HPV, suggesting vaccination may reduce risk of HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer.

Keywords: Human papillomavirus; Incidence; Natural history; Oral infection; Oropharynx cancer; Prevalence.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mouth Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Mouth Diseases / virology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / transmission
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors