The epidemiology of high-risk (hr) HPV infections in mid-adult women with new sex partners is undefined.
We analyzed baseline data from 518 25–65 year old female online daters. Women were mailed questionnaires and kits for self-collecting vaginal specimens for PCR-based hrHPV testing. Risk factors for infection were identified using Poisson regression models to obtain prevalence ratios (PRs).
The prevalence of hrHPV infection was 35.9%. In multivariate analysis restricted to sexually active women, the likelihood of hrHPV infection was associated with abnormal Pap test history (PR=1.42, 95% CI:1.10–1.84), lifetime number of sex partners >14 (relative to 1–4; PR=2.13, 95% CI:1.13–4.02 for 15–24 partners and PR=1.91, 95% CI:1.00–3.64 for ≥25 partners), male partners with ≥1 concurrent partnership (PR=1.34, 95% CI:1.05–1.71) and male partners whom the subject met online (PR=1.39, 95% CI:1.08–1.79). Age was inversely associated with infection only in women who were sexually inactive (PR=0.67 per 5-year age difference, adjusted for Pap history and lifetime number of partners). Compared to sexually inactive women, the likelihood of infection increased with increasing risk level, (from low-risk to high-risk partners) (p<.0001 by trend test). In multivariate analysis, infection with multiple versus single hrHPV types was inversely associated with ever having been pregnant (PR=0.64, 95% CI:0.46–0.90) and recent consistent condom use (PR=0.56, 95% CI:0.32–0.97), and positively associated with genital wart history (PR=1.43, 95% CI:1.03–1.99).
Measures of both cumulative and recent sexual history were associated with prevalent hrHPV infection in this high-risk cohort of mid-adult women.