Background: Squamous intraepithelial lesions (SILs) of the cervix are associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, but multiple risk factors must be considered in this context. The authors performed a cross-sectional study to assess the prevalence of and the factors associated with SILs and invasive cervical carcinoma (ICC).
Methods: In Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, women were recruited from three outpatient gynecology clinics and screened for both cervical disease and HIV infection. A CD4 cell count was performed for HIV-infected women.
Results: A total of 2198 women were included in the study. The prevalence of HIV infection was 21.7%. Of the 2170 women who underwent a cervical screening, 254 (11.7%) presented with a dysplasia or neoplasia: 7.6% had low grade SILs (LSILs), 3.3% had high grade SILs (HSILs), and 0.8% had ICCs. In multivariate analyses, factors associated with these lesions were as follows: for LSILs, HIV-1 seropositivity, age <24 years, parity >1, consultation for genital infection, and no use of oral contraception in the past; for HSILs, HIV-1 seropositivity, chewing tobacco use, low educational level, and parity >1; and for ICCs, age >33 years, parity >3, and illiteracy. In women infected with HIV-1, the prevalence of LSILs increased with a decrease in CD4 cell count, whereas this relation was not found among patients with HSILs. ICCs were linked to HIV-2 infection, but not to HIV-1 infection, in univariate analysis.
Conclusions: In Africa, the prevalence of SILs is high. The factors associated with precancerous and cancerous lesions are different. Cancers in women infected with HIV-1 often may not reach the invasive stage. These findings could have implications for cervical screening programs in the future.