Human papillomavirus prevalence to age 60 years among Australian women prevaccination

Julia Brotherton, John Condon, Peter McIntyre, Sepehr Tabrizi, Michael Malloy, Suzanne Garland, WHINURS study group

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: The prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) at the cervix varies with age, peaking following sexual debut and declining thereafter in most populations. In some populations, a second peak is observed. Here we describe the prevalence of HPV at the cervix among Australian women before the commencement of the HPV vaccination program. 

    Methods: Women aged 15 to 60 years attending health services for cervical screening between 2005 and 2008 were invited to participate. Liquid based cervical specimens were tested for 37 types of HPV using linear array. The percentage and 95% confidence interval of women with any type of HPV, any of 13 high risk HPV types, and with vaccine-preventable HPV types (types 6, 11, 16 and 18) were estimated in 5-year age bands. 

    Results: Among 1929 women aged 15–60 years, HPV prevalence peaked at 64% at age 15–20 years, then declined gradually to 12% at age 41–45 years, whereafter it rose to 19% in women 51–55 years then returned to 14% in 56–60 year olds. Prevalence curves were similar for high-risk HPV types and vaccine-targeted HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18 and when results were restricted to women with only normal cytology. 

    Conclusions: The shape of the prevalence curve we observed is similar to those from other Western populations. Variation in prevalence curves is likely due to differences in sexual behaviour between populations and over time, reactivation of HPV during perimenopause, and possibly the presence of cervical screening programs. These data are the first such data from the Oceania region.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)353-359
    Number of pages7
    JournalSexual Health
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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