Background: In Quebec, Canada, a school-based HPV vaccination for girls has been offered since 2008. The vaccine used in the program targets HPV16/18, responsible for ∼70% of cervical cancers and HPV6/11, responsible for the majority of anogenital warts. The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of HPV in vaccinated and unvaccinated women.
Methods: Women aged 17-29 years were eligible to participate. Participants' age, vaccination status and diverse risk factors were assessed by a computer-assisted questionnaire. Biological specimens were obtained by self-sampling. HPV genotyping was performed by Linear Array.
Results: A total of 2,118 women were recruited. 2,042 completed the questionnaire and 1,937 provided a vaginal sample. Vaccination coverage varied from 83.5% in women aged 17-19 to 19.1% in those aged 23-29. The overall prevalence of HPV in sexually active women was 39.4% (95%CI: 37.0-41.7) and 56.7% of infected women had multiple type infections. The prevalence of vaccine HPV types varied by age and vaccination status except for women aged 23-29 for whom similar results were observed. Vaccine HPV types were detected in 0.3%, 1.4% and 10.5% of vaccinated women aged 17-19, 20-23, and 23-29 (p<0.05), respectively. HPV16 or HPV18 were detected in 10 women having received at least one dose of vaccine. Nine of these women were already sexually active at the time of vaccination.
Conclusion: Infections with HPV types included in the vaccine are rare in women aged less than 23 years and are virtually absent in those who received at least one dose of vaccine before sexual debut.
Keywords: HPV prevalence; HPV vaccine; Human papillomavirus; self-sampling.