Natural history of cervicovaginal papillomavirus infection in young women

Gloria Y F Ho, Robert Bierman, Leah Beardsley, Chee J. Chang, Robert D. Burk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Background. Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is highly prevalent in sexually active young women. However, precise risk factors for HPV infection and its incidence and duration are not well known. Methods. We followed 608 college women at six-month intervals for three years. At each visit, we collected information about lifestyle and sexual behavior and obtained cervicovaginal-lavage samples for the detection of HPV DNA by polymerase chain reaction and Southern blot hybridization. Pap smears were obtained annually. Results. The cumulative 36-month incidence of HPV infection was 43 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 36 to 49 percent). An increased risk of HPV infection was significantly associated with younger age, Hispanic ethnicity, black race, an increased number of vaginal-sex partners, high frequencies of vaginal sex and alcohol consumption, anal sex, and certain characteristics of partners (regular partners having an increased number of lifetime partners and not being in school). The median duration of new infections was 8 months (95 percent confidence interval, 7 to 10 months). The persistence of HPV for ≤6 months was related to older age, types of HPV associated with cervical cancer, and infection with multiple types of HPV but not with smoking. The risk of an abnormal Pap smear increased with persistent HPV infection, particularly with high-risk types (relative risk, 37.2; 95 percent confidence interval, 14.6 to 94.8). Conclusions. The incidence of HPV infection in sexually active young college women is high. The short duration of most HPV infections in these women suggests that the associated cervical dysplasia should be managed conservatively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-428
Number of pages6
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Volume338
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 12 1998

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Papillomavirus Infections
Papanicolaou Test
Confidence Intervals
Sexual Behavior
Incidence
Uterine Cervical Dysplasia
Human papillomavirus 6
Therapeutic Irrigation
DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
Southern Blotting
Infection
Hispanic Americans
Sex Characteristics
Uterine Cervical Neoplasms
Alcohol Drinking
Life Style
Smoking
Polymerase Chain Reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Natural history of cervicovaginal papillomavirus infection in young women. / Ho, Gloria Y F; Bierman, Robert; Beardsley, Leah; Chang, Chee J.; Burk, Robert D.

In: New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 338, No. 7, 12.02.1998, p. 423-428.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ho, Gloria Y F ; Bierman, Robert ; Beardsley, Leah ; Chang, Chee J. ; Burk, Robert D. / Natural history of cervicovaginal papillomavirus infection in young women. In: New England Journal of Medicine. 1998 ; Vol. 338, No. 7. pp. 423-428.
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