Episodic Detection of Human Papillomavirus Within a Longitudinal Cohort of Young Women

J Med Virol. 2015 Dec;87(12):2122-9. doi: 10.1002/jmv.24284. Epub 2015 Jun 25.


Redetection of a type-specific human papillomavirus (HPV) infection may represent reinfection. However, a growing body of literature suggests that reactivation of HPV is common and that episodic detection of a HPV infection may represent reactivation of a persistent virus. A cohort of prospectively followed adolescent women (N = 150), ages 14-17, was observed on average 6.4 years. The authors describe the redetection of 37 HPV types and associated factors of redetection of high-risk (HR) and low-risk (LR) types using Cox proportional hazard models. Of 1,248 HPV type-specific infections, 286 (22.9%) were associated with redetection after apparent clearance. Chlamydia infections (HR = 1.99 [95%CI, 1.15-3.49]) and non-condom use (HR = 1.1 [95%CI, 1.04-1.99]) were associated with increased redetection of HR-HPV infections. Oral contraceptive pills (HR = 2.73 [95%CI, 1.52-4.90]) and number of sexual partners (HR = 1.44 [95%CI, 1.04-1.99]) were associated with increased redetection of LR-HPV infections. Episodic detection of HPV is common for HR- and LR-HPV types. This finding and identified factors or redetection have clinical implications and enhances the understanding of HPV natural history.

Keywords: episodic detection; human papillomavirus; latency; sexual behaviors; sexually transmitted infections.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Chlamydia Infections / complications
  • Female
  • Genotype*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Papillomaviridae / classification*
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Virus Activation