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Oral Dis. 2012 Jul;18(5):430-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-0825.2011.01892.x. Epub 2012 Jan 18.

National prevalence of oral HPV infection and related risk factors in the U.S. adult population.

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Department of Dental Ecology, School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7450, USA.


This article reviews the rapidly growing evidence that oral human papilloma viruses (HPV) infection contributes to the risk of oral squamous cell carcinoma. It also reports the first nationally representative estimates of oral HPV prevalence in the United States adult population. An estimated 7.3% (95% CI: 6.0, 8.9) of the U.S. population had one or more oral HPV types detected in oral rinse; 3.1% (95%CI: 2.4, 3.9) of the U.S. population had one or more oncogenic HPV types. A substantial excess risk of HPV infection in men is not explained by education, smoking, age of sexual debut, or number of lifetime sex partners. Based on the published finding from a case-control study, where there was an odds ratio of 2.6 (95% CI: 1.5, 4.2) for the association of head and neck cancer oncogenic oral HPV infection, the estimated population attributable risk for head and neck cancer in the U.S. population was 4.7%. In other words, there would be a 4.7% reduction in incidence rate of head and neck cancer in the United States if oncogenic HPV infection could be prevented. The results also provide population data that help evaluate the likely public health benefits of prophylactic vaccination against oral HPV acquisition.

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