Oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and related oropharyngeal cancer are uncommon in lower-income countries, particularly compared to HPV-associated cervical cancer. However, little is known about the natural history of oral HPV in less-developed settings and how it compares to the natural history of cervical HPV.Methods
Three hundred fifty women aged 22 to 33 years from the Costa Rica Vaccine Trial provided exfoliated cells from the cervical and oral regions at 2 visits 2 years apart. Samples from both visits were tested for 25 characterized α HPV types by the SPF10 PCR-DNA enzyme immunoassay-LiPA25 version 1 system. Risk factors for oral HPV persistence were calculated utilizing generalized estimating equations with a logistic link.Results
Among the 82 women with characterized α oral HPV DNA detected at baseline, 14 persisted and were detected 2 years later (17.6%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 10.9–28.5%) and was similar to the persistence of α cervical HPV (40/223; 17.7%; 95% CI, 13.1–23.9%; P = 0.86). Acquisition of new α oral HPV type was low; incident infection (1.7%; 95% CI, 0.6–3.7%).Conclusions
Oral HPV DNA is uncommon in young women in Latin America, and often appears to clear within a few years at similar rates to cervical HPV.