• HPV;
  • Infectious Disease;
  • Heterosexual Couples;
  • HPV Counseling;
  • Oral HPV;
  • Viral Clearance Strategies



Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is a very common sexually transmitted disease. A variable concordance and clearance time between partners of infected heterosexual couples have been shown.


Aims of this study were evaluation of prevalent sites of HPV infection, frequency, genotype concordance, and course of viral infection in counseled and non-counseled infected heterosexual couples.


Prospective, controlled study among 74 consecutive HPV-infected heterosexual couples seeking their first medical intervention for sexually transmitted infections.

Main Outcome Measures

HPV detection and genotyping were performed at enrollment and during 24 months follow-up by polymerase chain reaction and INNO-LiPA assay in samples obtained from both partners. Samples were collected in males from coronal sulcus, urethra, semen, and oropharynx, and from cervix and oropharynx in females. Moreover, HPV fluorescence in situ hybridization was analyzed on semen samples.


The study was completed by 49 couples. The specific HPV-type concordance among infected couples was 69.4%. Among couples who declared performing oral sex, oropharyngeal infection was 22.7% of couples, and was more prevalent in females than males (18.1% and 4.5%, respectively). Thereafter, couples were randomly divided in two groups: a control group of 24 couples followed up for HPV-related lesions, and an experimental group counseled of 25 couples followed up for HPV-related lesions and counseled to avoid known risk factors for HPV infection. In patients who received counseling, the number of infected sites diminished faster during the follow-up and a higher number of couples had clearance. Only in the counseled group were there no infected couples at the end of the 24-month follow-up period.


This study confirms that HPV infection affects many sites in both males and females and shows a significant prevalence of oropharyngeal infection in couples performing oral sex. Targeted counseling in heterosexual couples appears to reduce the number of infected sites and to speed up viral clearance. Garolla A, Pizzol D, Vasoin F, Barzon L, Bertoldo A, and Foresta C. Counseling reduces HPV persistence in coinfected couples. J Sex Med 2014;11:127–135.