Background and objectives: Previous studies of relationships between genital human papillomavirus infection and tentative risk factors have yielded conflicting results, possibly because of inaccuracy of the viral detection methods used and differences in selection criteria.
Goal of this study: To determine human papillomavirus prevalence and identify risk factors in a group of young Swedish women.
Study design: This was a population-based study involving completion of a structured questionnaire, analysis of cervical scrapings for human papillomavirus and Chlamydia trachomatis, and serologic tests for C. trachomatis and herpes simplex virus antibodies.
Results: The prevalence of human papillomavirus infection was 22% among the sexually active women and 4% among the virgins. A number of factors were associated with human papillomavirus prevalence in univariate analysis, but logistic regression analysis showed that lifetime number of male sexual partners was the only independent risk factor for human papillomavirus infection (adjusted odds ratio, 7.45; 95% CI, 2.79-19.92 for six or more partners vs. one partner).
Conclusion: Human papillomavirus infection is a prevalent sexually transmitted disease among young Swedish women, and the lifetime number of male sexual partners is a major risk factor.