Background: Concomitant human immunodeficiency virus and human papillomavirus infection increases both HPVpersistence and the risk of invasive cervical cancer. An estimation of HPV prevalence among HIV-positive women in Israel would contribute to improving care for this population and preventing morbidity and mortality related to cervical cancer.
Objectives: To determine the prevalence of HPV infection and cervical cytology abnormalities, and to assess the possible influence of HIV infection on HPV carriage in HIV-positive women attending the Infectious Disease Clinic at Soroka University Medical Center.
Methods: The study population included 84 HIV-seropositive women. They were examined by a gynecologist and screened for HPV genotyping, and Pap smears were obtained for cervical cytology. Demographic, behavioral, and HIV infection variables were also recorded and analyzed.
Results: Forty-nine (58.3%) of the study participants were HPV-positive; 34 of them had oncogenic genotypes. Young age (< 16 years) at first sexual intercourse was the only variable significantly associated with HPV infection (P < 0.05). Abnormal cervical cytology was present in 17 women (20.3%); 21 women were referred to colposcopy, which was abnormal in 9 (10.7%).
Conclusions: The prevalence of HPV carriage among HIV-positive woman in our study was slightly higher than published elsewhere. The prevalence of pathological cervical cytology was much higher than in the general population. An extremely high prevalence of pathological colposcopies requiring further treatment was found. Screening for HPV and premalignant changes in the uterine cervix is highly recommended in the HIV-seropositive population. We suggest that colposcopy be considered part of the routine workup in HIV-seropositive woman.