Human papillomavirus and abnormal cervical lesions among HIV-infected women in HIV-discordant couples from Kenya

Sex Transm Infect. 2020 Sep;96(6):457-463. doi: 10.1136/sextrans-2019-054052. Epub 2020 Jan 9.


Objective: HIV infection increases the risk of high-grade cervical neoplasia and invasive cervical carcinoma. The study addresses the limited data describing human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and cervical neoplasia among HIV-infected women in HIV-discordant relationships in sub-Saharan Africa, which is needed to inform screening strategies.

Methods: A cross-sectional study of HIV-infected women with HIV-uninfected partners was conducted to determine the distribution of type-specific HPV infection and cervical cytology. This study was nested in a prospective cohort recruited between September 2007 and December 2009 in Nairobi, Kenya. Cervical cells for HPV DNA testing and conventional cervical cytology were collected. HPV types were detected and genotyped by Roche Linear Array PCR assay.

Results: Among 283 women, the overall HPV prevalence was 62%, and 132 (47%) had ≥1 high-risk (HR)-HPV genotype. Of 268 women with cervical cytology results, 18 (7%) had high-grade cervical lesions or more severe by cytology, of whom 16 (89%) were HR-HPV-positive compared with 82 (41%) of 199 women with normal cytology (p<0.001). The most common HR-HPV types in women with a high-grade lesion or more severe by cytology were HPV-52 (44%), HPV-31 (22%), HPV-35 (22%), HPV-51 (22%) and HPV-58 (22%). HR-HPV genotypes HPV-16 or HPV-18 were found in 17% of women with high-grade lesions or more severe. HR-HPV screening applied in this population would detect 89% of those with a high-grade lesion or more severe, while 44% of women with normal or low-grade cytology would screen positive.

Conclusion: HR-HPV prevalence was high in this population of HIV-infected women with an uninfected partner. Choice of screening for all HR genotypes versus a subset of HR genotypes in these HIV-infected women will strongly affect the performance of an HPV screening strategy relative to cytological screening. Regional and subpopulation differences in HR-HPV genotype distributions could affect screening test performance.

Keywords: HIV; HPV; cervical cytology; cervical neoplasia; women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Atypical Squamous Cells of the Cervix* / virology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / virology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sexual Partners
  • Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions of the Cervix / epidemiology*
  • Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions of the Cervix / virology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology
  • Young Adult