This study, titled “Oral Human Papillomavirus Prevalence and Genotyping Among a Healthy Adult Population in the US,” led by Anna R. Giuliano, PhD, and colleagues, focused on understanding the burden of oral human papillomavirus (HPV) in the general US population. The cross-sectional study, conducted from November 2021 to March 2022, included 3,196 participants from 43 dental offices across the US. It found that oral HPV prevalence was 6.6% for any detected genotype. Specifically, the prevalence was 2.0% for high-risk (oncogenic) HPV types, 0.7% for HPV-16, and 1.5% for types covered by the 9-valent HPV vaccine. Notably, HPV-16 was the most prevalent genotype among HPV-positive participants, especially in men. The study also revealed that HPV prevalence was higher in men than in women and peaked among men aged 51 to 60 years.
The study’s results indicate that oral HPV burden is highest among older men, who may be more at risk of developing oropharyngeal cancer. The research highlights the significance of HPV as a growing cause of oropharyngeal cancer in the US, surpassing cervical cancer. The study’s objective was to assess oral HPV prevalence and factors associated with high-risk and low-risk infections in the general US population.
Participants provided oral gargle specimens for HPV DNA and genotyping, and completed behavioral questionnaires. The study also incorporated oral health status reports from dentists. Factors associated with high-risk oral infection included being male, older age, having a higher number of male sex partners, and having multiple female oral sex partners. The findings underscore the importance of HPV prevention efforts, particularly among men, to mitigate the rising incidence of HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer.