Background: High rates of persistence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection have been reported for adult women with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Although most women are first infected with HPV during adolescence, persistence of specific HPV types has not been carefully examined among HIV-infected adolescents. The objective of this study was to examine the rates of and risk factors for persistence of HPV types among HIV-infected and -uninfected adolescent girls.
Methods: This is a prospective cohort study of female adolescents, aged 13-18 years, participating in the Reaching for Excellence in Adolescent Care and Health project, a national study of HIV-infected and -uninfected adolescents. The main outcome measured was type-specific loss of initial HPV DNA detected. Loss of HPV DNA was defined for the following categories of HPV DNA types: low risk, which included types 6, 11, 42, 44, 54, 40, 13, 32, 62, 72, 2, 57, and 55; and high risk, which included types 16-like (16, 31, 33, 35, 52, 58, and 67), 18-like (18, 39, 45, 59, 68, 70, 26, 69, and 51), and 56-like (56, 53, and 66).
Results: Prevalent or incident HPV infection was detected in 334 girls. When type-specific loss of HPV was examined, HIV-uninfected girls had a shorter mean time to loss of initial infection than did HIV-infected girls (403 days vs. 689 days, respectively; P<.0001). By means of multivariate analysis, CD4 immunosuppression and the presence of multiple HPV-type subgroups were found to be associated with persistence of HPV.
Conclusion: Since persistence of high-risk HPV types has been strongly linked with the development of invasive cancer, the prolonged persistence of HPV observed among HIV-infected adolescents who are relatively healthy underscores the importance of prevention of HPV infection in this group.