Epidemiology of Human Papillomavirus Detected in the Oral Cavity and Fingernails of Mid-Adult Women.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Sexually transmitted diseases, Volume 42, Issue 12, p.677-85 (2015)


BACKGROUND: Oral and fingernail human papillomavirus (HPV) detection may be associated with HPV-related carcinoma risk at these nongenital sites and foster transmission to the genitals. We describe the epidemiology of oral and fingernail HPV among mid-adult women.

METHODS: Between 2011 and 2012, 409 women aged 30 to 50 years were followed up for 6 months. Women completed health and behavior surveys and provided self-collected oral, fingernail, and vaginal specimens at enrollment and exit for type-specific HPV DNA testing. Concordance of type-specific HPV detection across anatomical sites was described with κ statistics. Using generalized estimating equations or exact logistic regression, we measured the univariate associations of various risk factors with type-specific oral and fingernail HPV detection.

RESULTS: Prevalence of detecting HPV in the oral cavity (2.4%) and fingernails (3.8%) was low compared with the vagina (33.1%). Concordance across anatomical sites was poor (κ < 0.20 for all comparisons). However, concurrent vaginal infection with the same HPV type (odds ratio [OR], 101.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 31.4-748.6) and vaginal HPV viral load (OR per 1 log10 viral load increase, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.5-5.5) were each associated with fingernail HPV detection. Abnormal Papanicolaou history (OR, 11.1; 95% CI, 2.8-infinity), lifetime number of male vaginal sex partners at least 10 (OR vs. 0-3 partners, 5.0; 95% CI, 1.2-infinity), and lifetime number of open-mouth kissing partners at least 16 (OR vs. 0-15 partners, infinity; 95% CI, 2.6-infinity, by exact logistic regression) were each associated with oral HPV detection.

CONCLUSIONS: Although our findings support HPV DNA deposition or autoinoculation between anatomical sites in mid-adult women, the rarity of HPV in the oral cavity and fingernails suggests that oral/fingernail HPV does not account for a significant fraction of HPV in genital sites.