Prevalence of genital HPV infections and HPV serology in adolescent girls, prior to vaccination

Author(s): Mollers M, Scherpenisse M, van der Klis FR, King AJ, van Rossum TG, et al.


Introduction: Monitoring the prevalence of type-specific HPV-DNA infections before and shortly after introduction of routine HPV vaccination offers the opportunity to evaluate early effects of the vaccination program. With this aim a cohort study was set up of 14- to 16-year-old girls eligible for HPV vaccination in the Netherlands. Annually, HPV-DNA and antibody status in vaginal self-samples and in serum respectively, will be studied among vaccinated (58%) and unvaccinated girls (42%). Here we present baseline data on vaginal HPV-DNA status in relation to serum antibodies.

Methods: The 1800 enrolled girls filled out an internet-based questionnaire and provided a vaginal self-sample for genotype specific HPV-DNA detection using SPF(10) PCR amplification and reverse line probe hybridization. Furthermore, 64% of the girls provided a blood sample for HPV antibody analysis. IgG antibodies against virus-like particles were determined for 7 HPV genotypes.

Results: At baseline, type-specific HPV-DNA was detected in 4.4% (n = 79) of the 1800 girls: 2.7% (n = 49) concerned a high risk HPV type (hrHPV-DNA). The three most common types were HPV type 16, 18 and 51 (40%). Out of the hrHPV-DNA positive girls, 32% was seropositive vs. 12% in HPV-DNA negative girls (p<0.001). Risk factors independently associated with hrHPV-DNA infection among the sexually active girls were age >15 years vs. 14-15 years (OR = 2.6 (1.2-5.9)), age of sexual debut <14 vs. above 14 years (OR = 3.0 (1.1-8.2)), total number of lifetime partners above two vs. less than two partners (OR = 3.2 (1.3-8.0)) and age of partner >17 vs. under 17 years (OR = 4.2 (1.5-13.0)).

Conclusion: A low hrHPV-DNA prevalence was found in the adolescent girls. The observed vs. expected age-related increase in HPV-DNA prevalence in this cohort in the coming years (with increased sexual activity) will provide understanding of the effect of HPV vaccination. Furthermore, this cohort study will offer the opportunity to improve knowledge of antibody responses following natural infection and vaccination.

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