Estimation of HPV prevalence in young women in Scotland; monitoring of future vaccine impact

Kimberley Kavanagh, Katy Sinka, Kate Cuschieri, John Love, Alison Potts, Kevin G.J. Pollock, Heather Cubie, Martin Donaghy, Charles Robertson

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Estimation of pre-immunisation prevalence of HPV and distribution of HPV types is fundamental to understanding the subsequent impact of HPV vaccination. We describe the type specific prevalence of HPV in females aged 20--21 in Scotland who attended or defaulted from cervical screening using three specimen types; from attenders liquid based cytology and from defaulters urine or self-taken swabs.
Residual liquid based cytology samples (n = 2148), collected from women aged 20--21 attending for their first smear were genotyped for HPV. A sample (n = 709) from women who had defaulted from screening was also made available for HPV testing through the use of postal testing kits (either urine samples (n = 378) or self-taken swabs (n = 331)). Estimates of prevalence weighted by deprivation, and for the postal testing kit, also by reminder status and specimen type were calculated for each HPV type. The distribution of HPV types were compared between specimen types and the occurrence of multiple high-risk infections examined. The influence of demographic factors on high-risk HPV positivity and multiple infections was examined via logistic regression.
The prevalence of any HPV in young women aged 20--21 was 32.2% for urine, 39.5% for self-taken swab, and 49.4% for LBC specimens. Infection with vaccine specific types (HPV 16, 18) or those associated with cross-protection (HPV 31, 33, 45, 51) was common. Individuals were more likely to test positive for high-risk HPV if they resided in an area of high deprivation or in a rural area. The overall distribution of HPV types did not vary between defaulters and attenders. Multiple infections occurred in 48.1% of high-risk HPV positive individuals. Excluding vaccine types the most common pairing was HPV 56 and 66.
Understanding of the pre-immunisation prevalence of HPV in young women puts Scotland in a prime position to assess the early effect of vaccination as the first highly vaccinated cohorts of individuals enter the screening programme. Differences in results with different specimen types must be taken into account when monitoring the impact of vaccination programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number519
Number of pages17
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2013


  • HPV
  • Scotland
  • Scottish women
  • vaccine impact
  • infectious disease control


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