October 10, 2012
1 min read

Cervical HPV increased odds of anal HPV infection in young women

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Among young women who have not had anal intercourse, having cervical HPV infection increased the odds of anal HPV infection, researchers from the National Cancer Institute reported.

“As expected, the prevalence of anal HPV infection was elevated among women with high-risk sexual behaviors and among those who had an HPV infection at the cervix,” Felipe Castro, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch at the National Cancer Institute, told Infectious Disease News. “However, anal HPV infection was also common among women who reported never having anal sexual intercourse. These findings suggest that HPV infection may be transmitted from one anatomic site to another.”

Felipe Castro

Felipe Castro

This study included 2,017 women included in the control arm of a phase 3 trial on the efficacy of an HPV-16/18 vaccine in Costa Rica. Anal and cervical specimens were provided from the women tested for HPV DNA. The researchers evaluated variables associated with anal HPV infection.

The overall prevalence of anal HPV was 31.6%, which did not vary by age. Prevalence was higher among women with a history of anal intercourse. On multivariate analysis that controlled for history of anal intercourse, the number of sex partners and having a cervical HPV infection increased the odds of anal HPV infection. Women who did not report anal intercourse, but reported having anal fissures, also had increased odds of anal HPV infection.

“We need to understand more about the characteristics of persistence and clearance of anal HPV infection,” Castro said. “At the time of our analysis, we lacked longitudinal data and could only report on prevalent anal HPV infection. Ongoing serial anal specimen collection will address this limitation in future reports.”


Castro reports no relevant financial disclosures.