Little is known about the prevalence and seroprevalence of low-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) and the risk factors for HPV infection in Korean women. We determined the prevalence of low-risk HPV among 902 women aged 20-59 yr and the seroprevalence of low-risk HPV subtypes 6 and 11 among 1,094 women aged 9-59 yr in the general population. Genital low-risk HPV DNA was assessed by liquid hybridization and polymerase chain reaction. Antibody titers against HPV 6 and 11 were measured by a multiplexed competitive luminex technique. The prevalence of genital low-risk HPV was 4.9%. It reached its highest peak of 10.3% at 20-29 yr of age and a second peak of 3.2% at 50-59 yr of age. The seroprevalence of HPV 6 or 11 was 9.4%. It reached its highest peak of 12.7% at 25-29 yr of age and a second peak of 12.3% at 50-59 yr of age. In multivariable analysis, the number of lifetime sexual partners and past history of sexually transmitted diseases were associated with the seroprevalence but not prevalence of HPV. It is suggested that younger women should receive prophylactic HPV vaccination before they become sexually active and exposed to HPV in their 20s. This study provides baseline data for developing HPV vaccination programs and monitoring vaccine efficacy in Korea.
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