October 06, 2015
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HPV seroprevalence varies by gender, race, age

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Approximately 40% of women and 20% of men showed serological evidence of exposure to at least one of the nine types of HPV, according to recent data.

Moreover, race/ethnicity disparities were observed in the seroprevalence of all type categories, particularly HPV 31/33/45/52/58 among women.

The researchers evaluated data on 4,943 individuals aged 14 to 59 years who were enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey during the 2005-2006 cycle. The participants responded to questionnaires on sexual behaviors through self-interviews. The seroprevalence of HPV 6/11/16/18/31/33/45/52/58 was determined through serum samples extracted during health examinations.

According to the data, women had a seroprevalence of 40.5% for any of the nine types of HPV, and a seroprevalence of 30% for any of the high-risk (HR) types (16/18/31/33/45/52/58). Furthermore, women had a seroprevalence of 19% for any five additional types (31/33/45/52/58), a prevalence of 18.3% for types 16/18 and a 22.7% prevalence for HPV 6/11.

For all type categories, men had lower seropositivity than women (P < .001).Men had an overall seroprevalence of 19.4% of any nine types, 11.9% seroprevalence of any of seven HR types, 6.6% seroprevalence of HPV 31/33/45/52/58, 6.6% of HPV 16/18 and 10.5% seroprevalence of HPV 6/11.

Compared with non-Hispanic white females, non-Hispanic black females had a higher seroprevalence of HPV 31/33/45/52/58 (36.8% vs. 15.9%; P <.001) and of HPV 16/18 (30.1% vs. 17.8%; P <.001). Mexican-Americans also had a higher seroprevalence of HPV 31/33/45/52/28 compared with white females (23.6% vs. 15.9%; P < .001 for all).

Multivariable analyses among women revealed significant correlations between age groups, race/ethnicity, number of lifetime sexual partners and poverty. Seroprevalence increased between 14 to 19 years of age and 20 to 29 years of age, reaching a high of 52% between 30 to 39 years of age. Women who reported at least 10 lifetime partners had an adjusted prevalence ratio of 3.93 (95% CI, 2.32-6.66) for being seropositive for HPV 16/18 and 6.2 times (95% CI, 3.84-10.01) more likely to be seropositive for HPV 31/33/45/52/58 compared with those who reported one partner.

Patti E. Gravitt

Patti E. Gravitt

In a related editorial, Patti E. Gravitt, PhD, of the department of pathology at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, wrote that the extensive similarities in age-, gender- and race-specific HPV seroprevalence patterns underscore the value of early prophylactic HPV vaccination in preventing HPV-associated cancers.

“The general correlation between observed HPV seroprevalence patterns and birth cohort and race/ethnicity-specific sexual behaviors supports sexual transmission as the primary driving force of HPV infection,” Gravitt wrote. “However, the observed differences, including lower seroprevalence in men vs. women despite similar HPV DNA prevalence and higher sexual risk profiles, lower seroprevalence at older ages/birth cohorts in both men and women, and genotype-specific differences in seroprevalence in Mexican-Americans compared with non-Hispanic whites raise important questions about differences in sexual behavior by age and birth cohort and biological differences in the immune response to HPV infection.” – by Jen Byrne

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.