Sexual behaviour as well as HPV types 6 and 11 are associated with genital warts

A recent study by GM Anic et al from  the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Fla., have found that human papillomavirus types 6 and 11, as well as recent sexual behavior, are strongly associated with the incidence of genital condyloma (wart) infection.

The strongest associations were found for infections with HPV types 6 and 11. The risk for condyloma also increased with an increasing number of female sexual partners but decreased with age. Sexual behaviors in the previous 3 months were also associated with a high risk for condyloma: a high number of male anal sex partners, more frequent vaginal intercourse and infrequent condom use. Also influencing the incidence of condyloma was ever having a sexually transmitted infection and ever having a partner with condyloma.

Since subclinical infection with HPV is more common than condylomas, this latter finding suggests that patients with visible genital warts are more likely to transmit condylomata to their sexual partner. This finding confirms an old study by the veteran British venerologist JD Oriel in 1971.

Factors strongly associated with condyloma were incident infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6 and 11 (hazard ratio [HR], 12.42 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 3.78–40.77]), age (HR, 0.43 [95% CI, .26–.77]; 45–70 vs 18–30 years), high lifetime number of female partners (HR, 5.69 [95% CI, 1.80–17.97]; ≥21 vs 0 partners), and number of male partners (HR, 4.53 [95% CI, 1.68–12.20]; ≥3 vs 0 partners). The results suggest that HPV types 6 and 11 and recent sexual behavior are strongly associated with incident condyloma.

“The strong association between recent sexual history and incident condyloma after accounting for HPV infection suggests that prevention efforts targeting behavioral modification may be effective at reducing condyloma incidence among men who have not received the HPV vaccine,” the researchers wrote.

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