Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Research Notes and BioMed Central.

Open Access Short Report

Low avidity of human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 antibodies is associated with increased risk of low-risk but not high-risk HPV type prevalence

Proscovia B Namujju123*, Lea Hedman4, Klaus Hedman4, Cecily Banura5, Edward K Mbidde2, Dennison Kizito2, Romano N Byaruhanga67, Moses Muwanga8, Reinhard Kirnbauer9, Heljä-Marja Surcel1 and Matti Lehtinen3

Author Affiliations

1 National Institute for Health and Welfare, Oulu, Finland

2 Uganda Virus Research Institute, Entebbe, Uganda

3 School of Public Health, University of Tampere, Finland

4 Department of Virology, University of Helsinki and Huslab, Helsinki, Finland

5 College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

6 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, San Raphael of St. Francis Hospital, Nsambya, Uganda

7 Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

8 Entebbe Hospital, Entebbe, Uganda

9 Department of Dermatology, Medical University Vienna, Austria

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:170  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-170

Published: 6 June 2011



Low avidity of antibodies against viral, bacterial and parasitic agents has been used for differential diagnosis of acute versus recent/past infections. The low-avidity antibodies may however, persist for a longer period in some individuals.


We studied the association of human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 antibody avidity with seroprevalence to HPV types 6/11/18/31/33/45. Antibody avidity was analysed for 365 HPV16 seropositive pregnant Finnish and Ugandan women using a modified ELISA.

Low avidity of HPV16 antibodies was found in 15% of Finnish and 26% of Ugandan women. Ugandan women with low-avidity HPV16 antibodies had an increased risk estimate for HPV6/11 (odds ratio, OR 2.9; 95%CI 1.01-8.4) seropositivity but not to high-risk HPV types 18/31/33/45.


Association of the low avidity HPV16 antibody "phenotype" with possible susceptibility to infections with other HPV types warrants investigation.

antibody; avidity; genital infection; HPV; prevalence