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PLoS One. 2014 Mar 17;9(3):e91761. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091761. eCollection 2014.

Prevalence and risk factors for oral HPV infection in young Australians.

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Department of Population Health, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia.
School of Public Health and Social Work, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.


The prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated head and neck cancers is increasing, but the prevalence of oral HPV infection in the wider community remains unknown. We sought to determine the prevalence of, and identify risk factors for, oral HPV infection in a sample of young, healthy Australians. For this study, we recruited 307 Australian university students (18-35 years). Participants reported anonymously about basic characteristics, sexual behaviour, and alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs use. We collected oral rinse samples from all participants for HPV testing and typing. Seven of 307 (2.3%) students tested positive for oral HPV infection (3 HPV-18, one each of HPV-16, -67, -69, -90), and six of them were males (p = 0.008). Compared to HPV negative students, those with oral HPV infection were more likely to have received oral sex from more partners in their lifetime (p = 0.0004) and in the last year (p = 0.008). We found no statistically significant associations with alcohol consumption, smoking or numbers of partners for passionate kissing or sexual intercourse. In conclusion, oral HPV infection was associated with male gender and receiving oral sex in our sample of young Australians.

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