Objective: Little is known about the interaction between human papillomavirus (HPV) and HIV. This study aimed to explore the association of oncogenic (high risk) and nononcogenic (low risk) HPV with HIV incidence.
Methods: We used 1683 urethral swabs collected at the last follow-up visit of a male circumcision trial conducted in Orange Farm (South Africa). Swabs analyses and HPV genotyping were performed by polymerase chain reaction. We estimated HIV adjusted incidence rate ratios (aIRRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using survival analysis. Background characteristics, male circumcision status, sexual behavior, HPV status, and other sexually transmitted infections were used as covariates.
Results: The prevalence of HR and LR HPV was 14.0% (95% CI: 12.4 to 15.7) and 17.3% (95% CI: 15.6 to 19.2), respectively. When controlling for HR-HPV status, LR-HPV status was not associated with HIV incidence (aIRR = 1.13, 95% CI: 0.40 to 3.16; P = 0.82). When controlling for all covariates, HIV incidence increased significantly with HR-HPV positivity (aIRR = 3.76, 95% CI: 1.83 to 7.73, P < 0.001) and with the number of HR-HPV genotypes (adjusted-P linear trend = 0.0074).
Conclusions: Several explanations could account for our findings. One is that HR-HPV facilitates HIV acquisition. The association of HPV with HIV acquisition requires further investigations.