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HPV testing in HIV-positive women may help reduce frequent cervical cancer screening
Date:7/22/2012

etects cancer-associated types of the virus.

But those guidelines did not update screening recommendations for HIV-positive women. Current recommendations for HIV-positive women are to have two Pap tests, at six-month intervals, in the first year following diagnosis of HIV and, if normal, on an annual basis from then on. HPV testing is not currently recommended for HIV-positive women.

The current study looked at whether cervical cancer screening could be reduced in HIV-positive women who have a normal Pap test and a negative test for HPV. The Einstein researchers reasoned that for women with a normal Pap test and no evidence of cervical HPV infection, the risk of cervical precancer or cancer is likely to be very low for several years regardless of HIV status.

It is widely thought that before cervical precancer or cervical cancer can develop, there must be persistent infection by a cancer-associated HPV, as well as the accumulation of additional genetic changes over time, said Dr. Strickler.

The study analyzed data on 420 HIV-positive and 279 HIV-negative women who were enrolled in the Womens Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), the largest prospective study of HIV-positive women in the US. (Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital for Einstein, is one of the six clinical sites for WIHS.) At enrollment, each woman had a normal Pap test and tested negative for the cancer-related HPV types. The womens rates of cervical precancer and cancer were measured after three- and five-years of follow-up.

At both the three- and five-year screening intervals, the incidence of cervical precancer was found to be similar in both HIV-positive and HIV-negative women. No cases of cervical cancer were detected in either group.

Overall, few cases of cervical precancer would have gone undiagnosed if the HIV-positive women did not have any additional Pap tests during the five years follo
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Contact: Kim Newman
sciencenews@einstein.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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