HPV Oral Prevalence in Scotland (HOPSCOTCH) Feasibility Study

The HOPSCOTCH Study investigated the feasibility of undertaking an epidemiology of the prevalence, incidence, and determinants of oral HPV infection in dental practice settings in Scotland.


Logo of the Chief Scientist's OfficeHOPSCOTCH was funded from the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office (CSO) grant no. CZH/4/917


By the study end we recruited 402/500 patients (80% of target), having reached recruitment targets at three of the seven sites.

For a summary of the project results please see CSO focus on Research: http://www.cso.scot.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/CZH_4_917.pdf

The full paper can be accessed at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0165847


Study Overview & Objectives

This 20 month study tested the feasibility of undertaking a full population investigation into the prevalence, incidence, and persistence of oral HPV in Scotland via dental settings. The study began in July 2013 and participant recruitment commenced in November 2013. We aimed to recruit 500 participants across seven dental settings from two NHS Health Boards – Tayside and Greater Glasgow & Clyde. Participants were screened from patient lists and invited to take part in the study. Following positive consent at the time of their dental appointment, participants provided an oral gargle/rinse sample and completed an in-depth questionnaire including questions on socio-demographics and lifestyle behaviours and a detailed sexual history questionnaire.

The Objectives of our feasibility study were to examine: 

  • the suitability of different dental settings, including different models of recruitment (research nurse vs. dental nurse) and follow-up (study appointments, dental appointments, and postal);
  • subject participation and consent;
  • data and sample collection/ handling - including lifestyle/ sexual history questionnaire, and oral gargle/rinse;
  • record linkage to national health datasets;
  • sample validation for HPV detection assay.

The findings, primarily, will be used to inform the future shape of a larger population based study, which has the ultimate aim of assessing the prevalence, incidence, transmission and determinants of oral HPV infection in Scotland. This investigation also is in the context of the HPV vaccination programme established in 2008 for females aged 12-13 years, and aims to assess the vaccine’s impact on oral HPV in females and “herd immunity” in males.


  University of Dundee
  University of Edinburgh
  University of Glasgow
  University of Strathclyde
  Scottish Dental PBRN
  Throat Cancer Foundation
  NHS Education for Scotland
  NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde
  NHS Lothian
  NHS Tayside
  Scottish HPV Investigators Network

Steering Group

Dr David Conway


Clinical Senior Lecturer
Dental Public Health

University of Glasgow Dental School, 378 Sauchiehall Street
Glasgow G2 3JZ


Tel: 0141 211 9750

Professor Jeremy Bagg,

Professor of Clinical Microbiology & Head of School

University of Glasgow Dental School
378 Sauchiehall Street
Glasgow G2 3JZ


Tel: 0141 211 9741

PA: 0141 211 9701


Ms Lucy Dunbar


Oral Health Collaborative Research Administrator

University of Glasgow Dental School, 378 Sauchiehall Street
Glasgow G2 3JZ


Tel: 0141 211 9764

Dr Heather Gray

HOPSCOTCH Project Manager

University of Glasgow Dental School, 378 Sauchiehall Street
Glasgow G2 3JZ


Tel: 0141 211 9746

Dr Lisa McDaid

Programme Leader (Track)

Sexual Health MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit
University of Glasgow
Top floor
200, Renfield Street
Glasgow G2 3QB


Tel: 0141 357 7568


Sharon Kean

Director of Information Systems

R1111 Level 11
Robertson Centre
Boyd Orr Building
Glasgow G12 8QQ


Tel: 0141 330 3266

Dr Andrew Winter

Consultant in Sexual Health and HIV

Joint Clinical Director Sandyford Initiative

Sandyford Sexual Health Services
2-6 Sandyford Place
Sauchiehall Street
Glasgow G3 7NB


Tel: 0141 211 1087

Professor Chris Robertson


Professor of Statistics
University of Strathclyde

Statistician to Health Protection Scotland


Tel: 0141 548 3215


Professor Jan Clarkson

Co-Director, Dental Health Services Research Unit (DHSRU)
University of Dundee
Dental Hospital and School
Park Place
Dundee DD1 4HN


JC direct dial: Tel: 01382 740990

PA Alana Gowans


Tel: 01382 740961

Dr Linda Young

Associate Researcher
Dental Health Services Research Unit
University of Dundee

Research Manager for NES’ Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness knowledge translation (TRiaDS) & practice based research network (SDPBRN) programmes


Tel: 01382 420154

Professor Heather Cubie


HPV Research Group and Scottish HPV Investigators Network (SHINe)

MRC University of Edinburgh Centre for Reproductive Health

Queen’s Medical Research Institute
47 Little France Crescent
Edinburgh EH16 4TJ



Tel: 0131 242 6625


Dr Christine Campbell

Centre for Population Health Sciences

The University of Edinburgh
Room 309, Doorway 1,
Medical Quad, Teviot Place
Edinburgh EH8 9AG


Tel: 0131 650 9252

Dr Kate Cuschieri, PhD



Scottish HPV Reference Laboratory
Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
51 Little France Crescent
Edinburgh EH16 4SA


Tel: 0131 242 6039


Dr Ramya Bhatia


Research Programme Manager

HPV Research Group
The University of Edinburgh
MRC Centre for Reproductive Health
The Queen's Medical Research Institute
47 Little France Crescent
Edinburgh EH16 4TJ


Tel: 0131 242 6625



Dr Fergus Daly

Biostatistics Team Lead

Frontier Science (Scotland) Ltd
Grampian View
Kincraig, Kingussie
Inverness-shire PH21 1NA


Tel: 01540 651012


Dr Kevin Pollock




Vaccine Preventable Diseases
NHS National Services Scotland
Health Protection Scotland
4th Floor, Meridian Court
5 Cadogan Street
Glasgow G2 6QE


Tel: 0141 300 1913   


Mr Jamie Rae

Founder & CEO of the Throat Cancer Foundation



Project Contacts

Chief Investigator

Dr David Conway - david.conway@glasgow.ac.uk