Women With HIV May Not Have Higher Cervical Cancer Risk: Study

MONDAY July 23, 2012 -- Infection with HIV -- the virus that causes AIDS -- does not appear to increase a woman's risk of cervical cancer, a new study has found.

Researchers looked at more than 400 HIV-infected women and nearly 300 HIV-free women, all of whom had a normal Pap test and a negative result for tumor-inducing human papillomavirus DNA at the start of the study. Several types of human papillomavirus (HPV) are known to cause cervical cancer.

After five years of follow-up, the risk of cervical precancer was similarly low for both groups of women. None of the women developed cervical cancer, Dr. Howard Strickler and colleagues at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York City said in a news release.

The study was scheduled for presentation at a Sunday media briefing at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., and appears in the July 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The findings suggest that the five-year risk of cervical cancer in HIV-infected women who have normal Pap tests and do not have tumor-causing HPV is similar to the risk in HIV-free women, the researchers said.

"The current investigation highlights the potential for a new era of molecular testing -- including HPV as well as other biomarkers -- to improve cervical cancer screening in HIV-infected women," the study authors concluded.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about cervical cancer.

Posted: July 2012


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