Incidence of cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions associated with HIV serostatus, CD4 cell counts, and human papillomavirus test results

JAMA. 2005 Mar 23;293(12):1471-6. doi: 10.1001/jama.293.12.1471.


Context: Recent cervical cancer screening guidelines state that the interval between screenings can be safely extended to 3 years in healthy women 30 years or older who have normal cytology results and have negative test results for oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA.

Objective: To determine the incidence of squamous intraepithelial lesions (SILs) in HIV-seropositive women with normal cytology results, by baseline HPV DNA results.

Design, setting, and patients: Participants were HIV-seropositive (n = 855; mean age, 36 years) and HIV-seronegative (n = 343; mean age, 34 years) US women with normal baseline cervical cytology who were enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), a large, multi-institutional prospective cohort study. Since their recruitment during 1994-1995, WIHS participants have been followed up semi-annually with repeated Pap smears for a median of 7 years.

Main outcome measure: The cumulative incidence of any SIL and high-grade SIL or cancer (HSIL+) was estimated according to baseline HPV DNA results, stratified by HIV serostatus and CD4 T-cell count.

Results: Development of any SIL in women with negative HPV results (both oncogenic and nononcogenic) at 2 years was as follows: in HIV-seropositive women with CD4 counts less than 200/microL, 9% (95% CI, 1%-18%); with CD4 counts between 200/muL and 500/microL, 9% (95% CI, 4%-13%); and with CD4 counts greater than 500/microL, 4% (95% CI, 1%-7%). The CIs for these estimates overlapped with those for HIV-seronegative women with normal baseline cytology who were HPV-negative (3%; 95% CI, 1%-5%), indicating that at 2 years, there were no large absolute differences in the cumulative incidence of any SIL between groups. Furthermore, no HPV-negative participants in any group developed HSIL+ lesions within 3 years. Multivariate Cox models showed that on a relative scale, the incidence of any SIL among HIV-seropositive women with CD4 counts greater than 500/microL (hazard ratio [HR], 1.2; 95% CI, 0.5-3.0), but not those with CD4 counts less than or equal to 500/microL (HR, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.2-7.1), was similar to that in HIV-seronegative women.

Conclusion: The similar low cumulative incidence of any SIL among HIV-seronegative and HIV-seropositive women with CD4 counts greater than 500/microL and who had normal cervical cytology and HPV-negative test results suggests that similar cervical cancer screening practices may be applicable to both groups, although this strategy warrants evaluation in an appropriate clinical trial.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Cohort Studies
  • DNA, Viral
  • Female
  • HIV Seronegativity
  • HIV Seropositivity / complications*
  • HIV Seropositivity / immunology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mass Screening
  • Papanicolaou Test
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / epidemiology*
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / virology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology*
  • Vaginal Smears


  • DNA, Viral