Prevalence of high-risk human papillomavirus among older women

Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Nov;112(5):979-89.

Lindau ST, Drum ML, Gaumer E, Surawska H, Jordan JA.

University of Chicago Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the University of Chicago Cancer Research Center, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence, genotypes, and individual-level correlates of high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) among women aged 57-85.

METHODS: Community-residing women (N=1,550), aged 57-85, were drawn from a nationally representative probability sample. In-home interviews and biomeasures, including a self-collected vaginal specimen, were obtained between 2005 and 2006. Specimens were analyzed for high-risk HPV DNA using Hybrid Capture 2; of 1,028 specimens provided, 1,010 were adequate for analysis. All samples testing positive were analyzed for HPV DNA by L1 consensus polymerase chain reaction followed by type-specific hybridization.

RESULTS: The overall population-based weighted estimate of high-risk HPV prevalence by Hybrid Capture 2 (Digene Corp.) was 6.0% (95% confidence interval 4.5- 7.9). Current marital and smoking status, frequency of sexual activity, history of cancer, and hysterectomy were associated with high-risk HPV positivity. Among high-risk HPV-positive women, 63% had multiple type infections. Human papillomavirus-16 or -18 was present in 17.4% of all high-risk HPV-positive women. The most common high-risk genotypes among high-risk HPV-positive women were HPV-61 (19.1%), -31 (13.1%), -52 (12.9%), -58 (12.5%), -83 (12.3%), -66 (12.0%), -51 (11.7%), -45 (11.2%), -56 (10.3%), -53 (10.2%), -16 (9.7%), and -62 (9.2%). Being married and having an intact uterus were independently associated with lower prevalence of high-risk HPV. Among unmarried women, current sexual activity and smoking were independently and positively associated with high-risk HPV infection.

CONCLUSION: In this nationally representative population, nearly 1 in 16 women aged 57-85 was found to have high-risk HPV, and prevalence was stable across older age groups.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.