Summary: An Increase in Sexual Partners Increases the Chances of Contracting HPV

A woman’s chances of contracting HPV are directly affected by the amount of sexual partners she has.

  • According to a study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus known to be a cause of cervical cancer, is common among females in the United States, with the highest concentration of cases among those aged 20 to 24 years. Additionally, the study concluded that the prevalence of the HPV infection is higher than previously estimated. Most importantly, the data shows an increased prevalence of HPV based on the number of sexual partners a woman had in a year. A woman with no sexual partners in one year has a 5.2 percent chance of contracting HPV, while a woman who has had six or more sexual partners in one year increases her chances of contracting the virus to 55.6 percent. The information, based on tests performed on non-incarcerated women ages 14-59, was gathered during the course of the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The results show that there is a statistically significant trend for increasing HPV prevalence with each year of age from 14 to 24 years, followed by a non-significant gradual decline through 59 years.1

1Prevalence of HPV Infection Among Females in the United States, JAMA, February 28, 2007, pp. 813-819.

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