Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination and oropharyngeal HPV in ethnically diverse, sexually active adolescents: community-based cross-sectional study
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma is the most common human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancer in the UK, but little is known about the prevalence of oropharyngeal HPV in sexually active teenagers. We investigated reported HPV vaccination coverage (in females) and prevalence of oropharyngeal HPV in sexually active students attending six technical colleges in London, UK. In 2017, we obtained mouthwash samples and questionnaires from male and female students taking part in the 'Test n
... in the 'Test n Treat' chlamydia screening trial. Samples were subjected to HPV genotyping. Of 232 participants approached, 202 (87%) provided a mouthwash sample and questionnaire. Participants' median age was 17 years and 47% were male. Most (73%) were from black and minority ethnic groups, 64% gave a history of oral sex, 52% reported having a new sexual partner in the past 6 months, 33% smoked cigarettes, 5.9% had concurrent genitourinary Chlamydia trachomatis infection and 1.5% Neisseria gonorrhoeae and 5.0% were gay or bisexual. Only 47% (50/107) of females reported being vaccinated against HPV 16/18, of whom 74% had received ≥2 injections. HPV genotyping showed three mouthwash samples (1.5%, 95% CI 0.3% to 4.3%) were positive for possible high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV), one (0.5%, 0.0% to 2.7%) for low-risk HPV 6/11, but none (0.0%, 0.0% to 1.8%) for HR-HPV. Four samples (2.0%, 0.5% to 5.0%) were positive for HPV16 using a HPV16 type-specific quantitative PCR, but these were at a very low copy number and considered essentially negative. Despite the high prevalence of oral sex and genitourinary chlamydia and low prevalence of HPV vaccination, the prevalence of oropharyngeal HR-HPV in these adolescents was negligible.