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Fertil Steril. 2015 Oct;104(4):838-844.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2015.06.028. Epub 2015 Jul 23.

Presence of human papillomavirus in semen of healthy men is firmly associated with HPV infections of the penile epithelium.

Author information

1
Department of Pathology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
2
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
3
Department of the National Immunisation Programme and Virology, Centre for Infectious Disease Research, Diagnostics and Screening, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, the Netherlands.
4
Section of Clinical Pathology and Unit for Human Reproduction Pathology, Department of Medicine, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.
5
Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
6
Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
7
Department of Pathology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Electronic address: cjlm.meijer@vumc.nl.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To study the source of human papillomavirus (HPV) in semen.

DESIGN:

Observational study (CCMO-NL3248800010).

SETTING:

Academic hospital-based laboratory.

PATIENT(S):

Healthy male volunteers (n = 213).

INTERVENTION(S):

One penile scrape and three semen samples were obtained per participant for HPV-DNA testing by both GP5+/6+ polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and SPF10-PCR to detect moderate/high and low viral loads, respectively; flat penile lesions (FPL) were detected by penoscopy.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

HPV-DNA presence in semen and penile scrapes, and the presence of FPL.

RESULT(S):

HPV-DNA at moderate/high viral loads (i.e., GP5+/6+ PCR-positive) was detected in ≥1 semen sample(s) in 27% of participants. Most men with moderate/high viral loads in the penile scrape also had moderate/high viral loads in semen (85%). Men with a HPV-negative penile scrape were very unlikely to have moderate/high viral loads in semen (3%). The presence of HPV in semen was associated with the presence of HPV in the penile scrape also on a genotype-specific level. Having FPL was a risk factor for HPV presence in semen.

CONCLUSION(S):

HPV-DNA presence in semen of healthy men is common and associated with HPV infections of the penile epithelium. HPV-DNA presence in semen may result from desquamation of HPV-infected penile cells.

KEYWORDS:

Flat penile lesion; human papillomavirus; semen; transmission

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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