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The Estimated Lifetime Probability of Acquiring Human Papillomavirus in the United States

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Abstract

Background

Estimates of the lifetime probability of acquiring human papillomavirus (HPV) can help to quantify HPV incidence, illustrate how common HPV infection is, and highlight the importance of HPV vaccination.

Methods

We developed a simple model, based primarily on the distribution of lifetime numbers of sex partners across the population and the per-partnership probability of acquiring HPV, to estimate the lifetime probability of acquiring HPV in the United States in the time frame before HPV vaccine availability.

Results

We estimated the average lifetime probability of acquiring HPV among those with at least 1 opposite sex partner to be 84.6% (range, 53.6%–95.0%) for women and 91.3% (range, 69.5%–97.7%) for men. Under base case assumptions, more than 80% of women and men acquire HPV by age 45 years.

Conclusions

Our results are consistent with estimates in the existing literature suggesting a high lifetime probability of HPV acquisition and are supported by cohort studies showing high cumulative HPV incidence over a relatively short period, such as 3 to 5 years.

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