Risk factors for HPV infection in women from sexually transmitted disease clinics: comparison between two areas with different cervical cancer incidence

Int J Cancer. 1998 Jan 5;75(1):1-8. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0215(19980105)75:1<1::aid-ijc1>3.0.co;2-1.


We have compared risk factors for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in very sexually active women [attenders of clinics for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)] living in 2 areas with a 4-fold difference in cervical cancer incidence, i.e., Greenland and Denmark. The results were compared with findings of HPV infection in men attending the STD clinics during the same period. Overall, 204 Greenlandic women (GW), 187 Danish women (DW), 103 Greenlandic men and 216 Danish men were included. A similar age distribution was found in the 2 female populations. The GW reported significantly more sexual partners, earlier first intercourse and more STDs, but HPV was less frequently detected in the GW (25%) than in the DW (35%). However, this could be explained by a difference in the age pattern of HPV prevalence seen in the 2 areas. In each geographical area, the age pattern of HPV prevalence in men was very similar to that seen in women. The most important risk factors for HPV detection were the same in both female populations, i.e., age, years since first sexual intercourse and number of partners in the last years. In conclusion, the pattern of risk factors for HPV infection was the same in STD women from a high-risk area and a low-risk area for cervical cancer. Our results also show that the use of an overall HPV prevalence for comparing populations is meaningless, even in populations with similar age distribution.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Age Factors
  • DNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Greenland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Papillomaviridae* / genetics
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Partners
  • Tumor Virus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology


  • DNA, Viral