Objectives: To study the importance of sexual activity and early coitus debut on the risk for acquiring infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 or 33.
Study design: Ninety-eight healthy adolescent girls were followed up with consecutive interviews and donations of serum and cervical brush samples during 2 years.
Results: Fourteen percent of sexually experienced girls had serum immunoglobulin G to HPV16 and/or HPV33 capsids, and 14% also had cervical HPV16 or HPV33 DNA. Seropositivity for HPV correlated with detection of cervical HPV DNA. None of the 36 girls without coital experience was seropositive or harbored cervical HPV DNA. Seropositivity for HPV was correlated strongly with the number of sexual partners: Odds ratio for > 1 sexual partner was 16.3 (P < 0.001), and for early coitus debut (younger than 17 years of age), it was 14.3 (P < 0.002).
Conclusions: Both HPV serology and HPV DNA testing indicated that the number of sexual partners and earliness of coitus debut determined the risk for acquiring HPV infection and that nonsexually transmitted infections are rare or nonexistent among adolescent girls.