OBJECTIVE--To assess the presence of human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA in urethral and urine specimens from men with and without sexually transmitted diseases. DESIGN--Prospective study. SETTING--Two London departments of genitourinary medicine PATIENTS--100 men with urethral gonorrhoea, 31 men with penile warts and 37 men with genital dermatoses. METHODS--Urethral and urine specimens were taken, HPV DNA extracted and then amplified using the polymerase chain reaction. HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31 and 33 were identified using Southern blotting followed by hybridisation. RESULTS--HPV DNA was detected in 18-31% of urethral swab specimens and in 0-14% of urine specimens. Men with penile warts had HPV detected in urethral swabs more often than did men in the other two clinical groups. "High risk" HPV types were found in 71-83% of swab specimens and in 73-80% of urine specimens containing HPV DNA. CONCLUSIONS--HPV is present in the urogenital tracts of men with gonorrhoea, penile warts and with genital dermatoses. In men with urethral gonorrhoea, detection of HPV in urethral specimens is not related to the number of sexual partners, condom usage, racial origin or past history of genital warts. HPV DNA in the urethral swab and urine specimens may represent different aspects of the epidemiology of HPV in the male genital tract. The preponderance of HPV types 16 and 18 in all three groups of men may be relevant to the concept of the "high risk male".
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