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J Adolesc Health. 2010 Aug;47(2):151-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.01.006. Epub 2010 Mar 24.

Human papillomavirus concordance in heterosexual couples.

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Division of Adolescent Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229, USA.



Few studies have examined the relationships between sexual or hygienic behaviors and human papillomavirus (HPV) transmission. Our objectives were to (1) describe HPV concordance between the anogenital, oral, and palmar areas of monogamous heterosexual couples; and (2) determine sexual behaviors, hygienic practices, sexual histories, and subject characteristics associated with HPV anogenital concordance.


Couples were recruited from women who developed an incident HPV infection while being enrolled in a longitudinal HPV natural history study that recruited from two family-planning clinics. Men were their monogamous partners of at least 3 months. Samples were tested for HPV-DNA of 37 high- and low-risk genotypes. Questionnaires completed privately assessed health, sexual, hygienic history, and behaviors.


A total of 25 couples enrolled between February 2006 and July 2007; none had received HPV vaccine. The average age was 25 years (SD, 6) for men and 23 years (SD, 3) for women. HPV-84 was the most commonly shared HPV type in the anogenital and palmar areas. HPV-16 was the only shared oral-HPV type. Sixty-eight percent of couples had type-specific anogenital concordance. Receiving finger-anal sex (p = .05), sharing towels (p = .04), longer time since last intercourse (women: p = .03, men: p = .02 men), and men washing their genitals after sex (p = .03) were associated with decreased likelihood of concordance. Persistence of incident HPV types in women was associated with HPV in men (p = .002).


Our findings show that certain hygienic and sexual behaviors are associated with anogenital concordance between healthy, monogamous, heterosexual couples. Future studies are needed to see whether these detections reflect contamination, transient, or established infections.

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