The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility of undertaking a full population investigation into the prevalence, incidence, and persistence of oral Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in Scotland via dental settings. Male and female patients aged 16–69 years were recruited by Research Nurses in 3 primary care and dental outreach teaching centres and 2 General Dental Practices (GDPs), and by Dental Care Teams in 2 further GDPs. Participants completed a questionnaire (via an online tablet computer or paper) with socioeconomic, lifestyle, and sexual history items; and were followed up at 6-months for further questionnaire through appointment or post/online. Saline oral gargle/rinse samples, collected at baseline and follow-up, were subject to molecular HPV genotyping centrally. 1213 dental patients were approached and 402 individuals consented (participation rate 33.1%). 390 completed the baseline questionnaire and 380 provided a baseline oral specimen. Follow-up rate was 61.6% at 6 months. While recruitment was no different in Research Nurse vs Dental Care Team models the Nurse model ensured more rapid recruitment. There were relatively few missing responses in the questionnaire and high levels of disclosure of risk behaviours (99% answered some of the sexual history questions). Data linkage of participant data to routine health records including HPV vaccination data was successful with 99.1% matching. Oral rinse/gargle sample collection and subsequent HPV testing was feasible. Preliminary analyses found over 95% of samples to be valid for molecular HPV detection prevalence of oral HPV infection of 5.5% (95%CI 3.7, 8.3). It is feasible to recruit and follow-up dental patients largely representative / reflective of the wider population, suggesting it would be possible to undertake a study to investigate the prevalence, incidence, and determinants of oral HPV infection in dental settings.
- feasibility study