HIV, human papillomavirus, and cervical neoplasia and cancer in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy

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The objective of this study was to review the literature on the epidemiological association between human papillomavirus (HPV), HIV, and cervical neoplasia, and the impact of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) on this association. MEDLINE was searched using the terms ‘human papillomavirus’, ‘HPV’, ‘HIV’, ‘cervix’, ‘neoplasm’, and ‘antiretroviral’ to identify articles published before December 2006. HIV-infection was strongly associated with a higher prevalence, incidence, and persistence of HPV infection and correlated with prevalence, incidence, persistence, and progression of squamous intraepithelial lesions. The association between HIV and invasive cervical carcinoma has been more difficult to establish, but is now fully recognized. HAART seems to have little, if any, beneficial effect on the natural history of intraepithelial lesions in HIV-positive women. Despite this fact, HAART, does increase the life expectancy of HIV-positive women. Therefore, it remains important to closely monitor HPV-related disease in women with HIV who are receiving HAART, particularly in regions of the world where cervical screening is not available routinely.

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