In Japan, recommendations for HPV vaccines were suspended in 2013 due to unfounded safety fears. Although vaccine opponents claim modifying sexual behavior can prevent cervical cancer, no comprehensive data exist on sexual behavior and the risk of high-grade cervical disease in a Japanese population. This study investigates sexual behavior and the risk of HPV infection and cervical disease in 3968 women aged 20-41 yrs undergoing cervical screening between April 2014 and March 2016. Mean age at first intercourse was 18.4 yrs ± 2.8 and 32% of women reported ≥ 6 lifetime sexual partners. In regression analyses, number of partners was a significant risk factor for HPV infection. However, for high-grade disease (CIN2+), when HPV genotype was adjusted for, number of partners was not statistically significant. The greatest risk factor was an HPV16/18 infection (adjusted odds ratio 113.7, 95% CI: 40.8-316.9). In conclusion, we found that having an HPV16/18 infection and not sexual behavior was the most significant risk factor for high grade cervical disease in young Japanese women. These infections can be prevented by a highly effective vaccine and we recommend that the Japanese government resume proactive recommendations for the HPV vaccine immediately.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Health and Labor Sciences Research Grant  and the Japanese Agency for Medical Research and Development [JP15ck0106103].
- cancer prevention
- Disease prevention
- Gynaecologic cancer