Epidemiologic factors associated with seropositivity to human papillomavirus type 16 and 18 virus-like particles and risk of subsequent infection in men.
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Our understanding of humoral response to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection has been mainly derived from studies in women. The role of serum antibodies in the natural history of HPV in men has yet to be investigated. Data from 285 male participants of a natural history study were used to determine the epidemiologic factors associated with HPV 16/18 seropositivity and explore the role of HPV 16 and 18 serum antibodies in subsequent HPV infections. Serum antibodies were detected by use of HPV 16- and 18 virus-like particles enzyme-linked immunoassay. Logistic regression and Generalized Estimating Equation was used for the evaluation of risk factors. The risk of subsequent HPV infection by baseline antibody status was assessed by incidence rate ratio and its confidence intervals. Men ages 36 to 44 years compared with men ages 18 to 25 years were four times more likely to be seropositive to HPV 16/18. In addition, being divorced, separated, or widowed; being a former smoker; and having sex with men was positively and independently associated with HPV 16/18 seropositivity. Our findings on the potential role of HPV 16 or 18 serum antibodies in subsequent infection were inconclusive. Large prospective studies are warranted to adequately address questions on the role of natural immunity in the natural history of HPV infections in men.