The following factors are associated with an increased risk of genital HPV infection:
- number of sexual contacts of male and/or female partner (higher number of partners = higher risk)
- persistent infection
- higher viral load
- immune compromise
- cigarette smoking (women who smoke are twice as likely to develop cervical cancer than non-smokers)
- low socioeconomic status
- prolonged use of oral contraceptive pill (OCP; note that overall, the benefits of taking the OCP far outweigh the increased risk of HPV infection and malignancy)
- number of pregnancies (higher number of pregnancies = higher risk).
It should be noted that:
- using a condom gives some protection against HPV infection
- a late first pregnancy lowers the risk.