Summary: Women Twice as Likely to be Infected with HPV in Summer

Study conducted in Holland over a 16 year period found that women are about twice as likely to be infected with HPV during the summer months. Over the entire span of the study, evidence of infection was about twice as frequent from May through August.

  • The American Association for Cancer Research reports that an analysis conducted over a period of 16 years in Holland found that women are about twice as likely to be infected with HPV during the longer, sunnier days of summer than the shorter, colder days of winter. Scientists suggested explanation for this finding is that suppressed immunity is triggered by a specific band of ultraviolet rays found in sunlight. The results of the study also showed that the highest average monthly rate for both HPV infection and sunlight availability each occurred during the month of August for every year of the study. Over the entire span and during each year of the study, pathological evidence of infection was about twice as frequent from May through August, falling off abruptly every September. Dr. Hrushesky, who participated in the study, stated that these results should generate future work to determine if sunlight exposure is a meaningful worldwide risk factor for the initiation and progression of cervical cancer.1

1Increasing the Risk of Cancer, American Association for Cancer Research, March 27-31, 2004, pp. 2-3.

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