Stressful Events, Pessimism, Natural Killer Cell Cytotoxicity, and Cytotoxic/Suppressor T Cells in HIV+ Black Women at Risk for Cervical Cancer

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This study examines whether stressful negative life events and pessimism were associated with lower natural killer cell cytotoxicity (NKCC) and T cytotoxic/suppressor cell (CD8+CD3+) percentage in black women co-infected with human immunodeficiency virus Type 1 (HIV-1) and human papillomavirus (HPV), a viral initiator of cervical cancer.


Psychosocial interviews, immunological evaluations, and cervical swabs for HPV detection and subtyping were conducted on 36 HIV+ African-American, Haitian, and Caribbean women.


Greater pessimism was related to lower NKCC and cytotoxic/suppressor cells after controlling for presence/absence of HPV Types 16 or 18, behavioral/lifestyle factors, and subjective impact of negative life events.


A pessimistic attitude may be associated with immune decrements, and possibly poorer control over HPV infection and increased risk for future promotion of cervical dysplasia to invasive cervical cancer in HIV+ minority women co-infected with HPV.

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