Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the cause of cervical cancer. To better understand the natural history of HPV, we assessed the incidence of type-specific HPV infection and examined risk factors for acquisition of high-risk (HR) HPV infection in Danish women.
A population-based prospective cohort study of women aged 20 to 29 years was conducted. Participants were interviewed and underwent 2 gynaecological examinations 2 years apart. Women for whom Hybrid Capture 2 results were available at both visits were included in the analysis (n = 7454).
A HR HPV infection was acquired by 12.8% of the women during follow-up. The incidence decreased with increasing age. The commonest types were HPV16, HPV31, and HPV52. HPV66, HPV58, and HPV53 were mainly acquired with other HR types. Multiple HR types were acquired in 50% of the women who became HPV-positive during follow-up. In initially HPV-negative women age, number of sexual partners, and oral contraceptive use were the main risk factors for acquisition, particularly of multiple HR HPV types.
HPV infections were commonly acquired. We confirmed the sexually transmitted nature of the infection. Our findings show that both the level of potential exposure and other behavioral factors increase the risk for HR HPV acquisition.
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