Cervical human papillomavirus infection and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia in women positive for human immunodeficiency virus in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy

Curr Opin Oncol. 2003 Sep;15(5):382-8. doi: 10.1097/00001622-200309000-00007.


Purpose of review: Human papillomavirus (HPV) has been strongly implicated in the pathogenesis of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and cervical cancer. Women who are positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have been shown to be at increased risk for cervicovaginal HPV infection and CIN, and cervical cancer is an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-defining illness. The purpose of this review is to summarize recent studies of cervical HPV infection and CIN in HIV-positive women and to describe the effect of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) on the course of CIN.

Relevant findings: HIV-positive women have a higher prevalence of cervical HPV infection than HIV-negative women, and HPV infection is more persistent in the HIV-positive population. The incidence of high-grade CIN is increased in HIV-positive women. HAART has not been shown to affect HPV detection, and data on its effect on the natural history of CIN are mixed. Some studies show no effect of HAART on the natural history of CIN, and others show a statistically significant but modest beneficial effect.

Summary: Cervical HPV infection and CIN are clearly increased in HIV-positive women when compared with risk-matched HIV-negative women. HAART appears to have limited ability to clear HPV infection and induce regression of CIN in HIV-positive women. Combined with the high prevalence of cervical HPV infection and CIN, current data suggest that CIN should be aggressively sought and treated in HIV-positive women, including those who have responded well to HAART with good HIV viral load suppression and increasing CD4+ levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • Humans
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / virology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology*