Nucleotide sequence variation in the noncoding region of the genome of human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) was determined by direct sequencing and single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis of DNA fragments amplified by PCR. Individuals of diverse sexual promiscuity and/or cervicopathology were studied. In a group of 14 healthy, monogamous HPV16-positive females, only two HPV16 sequence variants could be documented. Among 17 females and 3 males with multiple sex partners and living in the same geographical region, nine sequence variants were found, whereas among 7 patients with cervical neoplasia from another region, five variants were detected. Although numbers are limited, in the group of individuals at high risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease or with cervical neoplasia, a larger number of HPV16 sequence variants was encountered (two types among 14 individuals versus nine types among 20; Fisher's exact test, P = 0.07). Seven of the individuals were sampled repeatedly over time. For these persistently infected women, no differences in HPV16 sequences were detected, irrespective of promiscuity, and persistence of a single viral variant, spread over multiple anatomic sites, for more than 2 years could be demonstrated. This indicates that viral persistence may be a common feature and that successful superinfection with a new variant may be rare, despite a potentially high frequency of viral reinoculation.

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Journal of Clinical Microbiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Belkum, A.F, Juffermans, L, Schrauwen, L, Burger, M, van Doornum, G.J.J, & Quint, W.G.V. (1995). Genotyping human papillomavirus type 16 isolates from persistently infected promiscuous individuals and cervical neoplasia patients. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. Retrieved from