Objectives: To confirm the risk factors for genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
Goal of this study: To investigate risk factors for HPV detection independent of the correlated risk factors for cervical neoplasia in a low-risk population.
Study design: HPV DNA was assessed among 483 cytologically normal women with no known history of cervical neoplasia. A cervicovaginal lavage was collected for HPV detection and typing using a PCR-based DNA amplification system. Information on risk factors of subjects was obtained through a questionnaire.
Results: HPV DNA was found in 17.7% of study women. On univariate analysis, factors associated with increasing HPV prevalence included younger age, fewer years of education, lower income, higher lifetime number of sex partners, lower age at first intercourse, nulliparity, oral contraceptive use, and current smoking. After statistical adjustment, we found younger age and higher number of sex partners were strongly and independently associated with higher HPV prevalence. We also observed increased HPV prevalence among women with lower levels of education and lower incomes.
Conclusion: These findings and corroborative data from the companion reports in this issue of the journal support the sexual route of transmission of the virus.