Type-specific human papillomavirus-DNA load in anal infection in HIV-positive men

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To characterize anal human papillomavirus (HPV) infections in terms of genotype prevalence and type-specific DNA load in HIV-positive men.


HIV-positive men attending the colo-proctological clinic of a University Hospital in Rome were recruited prospectively from November 2004 to July 2007. HIV-negative outpatients attending the same clinic over the same period were used as a control group.


Anal brushings were tested for HPV-DNA using polymerase chain reactions and direct sequencing; type-specific HPV-DNA copies were measured in most positive samples. HPV data were correlated with patient HIV status and risk factors.


HPV-DNA infection was detected in 81% of HIV-positive men. Almost all homosexual men were HPV-infected. The infection rate in low-risk HPV types was higher than in high-risk types. The spectrum of HPV genotypes was comparable between HIV-positive and HIV-negative men. Numbers of HPV-DNA copies varied greatly between samples but did not differ significantly between HIV-positive and HIV-negative men. In many samples, low-risk (HPV 6, 61, 70, and 74) viral loads were comparable with those of high-risk HPVs.


Type-specific HPV-DNA copies at baseline appear to be independent of patient immune status and of HPV genotype. HPV genotype risk and viral load should be further evaluated for their potential predictive role in persistence and progression.

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