The prevalence of human papillomavirus infection is estimated to be 27% in American girls and women aged 14–59, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The investigators conducted what they described as the first study to provide an estimate of prevalent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection across a broad age range in a nationally representative sample tested in 2003–2004.
The aim of the study was to determine the prevaccine population-based prevalence of HPV infection, establishing a baseline against which the HPV vaccine's efficacy can be gauged. Data were drawn from a subsample of 1,921 girls and women who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, reported Dr. Eileen F. Dunne and her associates at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics. The subjects collected their own cervicovaginal swab specimens at mobile examination centers, and HPV DNA was extracted from the specimens and typed. Twenty-seven percent of the subjects were found to be HPV positive, which corresponds to 25 million girls and women in the general population with prevalent HPV infection, the investigators said (JAMA 2007;297:813–9).
The HPV prevalence increased from age 14 through age 24, then gradually declined. It was highest—45%–-in subjects aged 20–24 years. When the analysis was restricted to sexually active girls and women, HPV prevalence was approximately 40% for ages 14–19, 50% for ages 20–24, 28% for ages 25–29, 27% for ages 30–39, 24% for ages 40–49, and 20% for ages 50–59.
The overall prevalences of high-risk HPV types 16 and 18 were low, at 1.5% and 0.8%, respectively.