Prevalence of human papillomavirus antibodies in males and females in England

Sarika Desai, Ruth Chapman, Mark Jit, Thomas Nichols, Raymond Borrow, Michael Wilding, Christina Linford, Catherine Lowndes, Anthony Nardone, Richard Pebody, Katherine Soldan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Most studies of human papillomavirus (HPV) epidemiology have employed DNA testing, which measures current infections. Serum antibodies offer a longer-term marker of infection in individuals who seroconvert and can therefore provide additional information about the exposure of populations to HPV. Methods: Sera from a population-based sample of males and females aged 10 to 49 years, in England, were tested for type-specific HPV antibodies using a multiplexed competitive Luminex assay and previously defined cutoffs of 20, 16, 20, and 24 mMU mL -1 for HPV 6, 11, 16, and 18, respectively. Seropositivity and geometric mean titers of seropositives were analyzed by HPV type, gender, and age. Catalytic models were developed to explore potential effects of antibody waning over time and changing risk of infection by age-cohort. Results: Seroprevalence for HPV 6, 11, 16, and 18 was 16.4%, 5.7%, 14.7%, and 6.3%, respectively, among females and 7.6%, 2.2%, 5.0%, and 2.0%, respectively, among males. Seroprevalence in females was significantly higher than males (P < 0.001 for all types) and showed a decline in older ages that was not seen in males. There was no evidence of declining antibody titers with increasing age. Model results suggest that cohort effects mediated through changes in sexual behavior better explain the observed trend in seroprevalence than waning antibodies over time. Conclusions: Preimmunization HPV seroprevalence in England shows similar trends to reports from other developed countries. We find the lower seroprevalence in older females probably reflects changes in sexual behavior over the last few decades. This study provides baseline data to monitor the impact of the immunization programme.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)622-629
Number of pages8
JournalSexually Transmitted Diseases
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


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