We examined the concurrence of multiple human papillomavirus (HPV) infections in 47,617 women who underwent cervical screening in New Mexico between December 2007 and April 2009 using the LINEAR ARRAY HPV Genotyping Test (Roche Diagnostics, Indianapolis, Indiana), which detects 37 different types of HPV. Our primary goal was to examine the distributions of multiple HPV types with a special interest in negative interactions, which could signal the possibility of type replacement associated with a common niche if some HPV types were prevented by vaccination. Multiple infections were found to be more common than expected under independence, but this could largely be accounted for by a woman-specific latent heterogeneity parameter which was found to be dependent on age and cytological grade. While multiple infections were more common in young women and in those with abnormal cytology, greater heterogeneity was seen in older women and in those with normal cytology, possibly reflecting greater variability in exposure due to current or past HPV exposure or due to heterogeneity in related HPV reactivation or in immune responses to HPV infection or persistence. A negative interaction was found between HPV 16 and several other HPV types for women with abnormal cytology but not for those with normal cytology, suggesting that type replacement in women vaccinated against HPV 16 is unlikely to be an issue for the general population.
Keywords: cervical screening; human papillomavirus; multiple infections; population heterogeneity.
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