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J Infect Dis. 2009 May 1;199(9):1263-9. doi: 10.1086/597755.

Oral sexual behaviors associated with prevalent oral human papillomavirus infection.

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Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is a cause of oropharyngeal cancer. We investigated whether sexual behaviors that elevated the odds of oropharyngeal cancer developing in a case-control study similarly elevated the odds of oral HPV infection developing among control patients. HPV infection was detected in 4.8% of 332 control patients from an outpatient clinic and in 2.9% of 210 college-aged men (age range, 18-23 years). Among control patients, the odds of infection developing independently increased with increases in the lifetime number of oral (P = .007, for trend) or vaginal sex partners (P = .003, for trend). Among college-aged men, the odds of oral HPV infection developing increased with increases in the number of recent oral sex partners (P = .046, for trend) or open-mouthed kissing partners (P = .023, for trend) but not vaginal sex partners. Oral sex and open-mouthed kissing are associated with the development of oral HPV infection.

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