July 10, 2012
1 min read

HIV increases risk of HPV detection, cuts clearance rate

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Researchers from the University of Cape Town in South Africa have found that HIV infection increases the risk of HPV detection but decreases the risk of HPV clearance in men and women.

“A high prevalence of new HPV infections and persistent infections are reported in immunocompromised individuals, including HIV-positive individuals,” the researchers wrote. “In immunocompromised individuals, a high prevalence of HPV latency is also reported, in which HPV may be reactivated to resume replication. HIV-positive men and women are at increased risk of incident HPV infection and reactivation of latent HPV infection, compared with HIV-negative women and men.”

The study included 278 HIV-positive women and 161 HIV-positive men. The researchers collected cervical and penile specimens every 6 months and the DNA was extracted to determine the presence of HPV. Rates of new HPV detection and HPV clearance were calculated for each HPV type.

They found that the rate of new HPV detection was higher in men than in women. HIV-positive women had a higher rate of HPV detection vs. HIV-negative women (RR=2.98; 95% CI, 2.07-4.29). HIV-positive men also had a higher rate of new HPV infection vs. HIV-negative men (RR=2.00; 95% CI, 1.49-2.69). Among couples in which one partner had HPV, the risk of new HPV detection increased in both women (RR=5.25; 95% CI, 3.52-7.81) and men (RR=8.71; 95% CI, 6.19-12.24).

In men, the rate of clearing HPV infection was 95.12 events per 1,000 person-months. In women, the rate of clearing HPV infection was 66.95 events per 1,000 person-months. The rate of clearing any HPV infection was significantly higher among men. In women, HIV infection reduced the rate of HPV clearance.

“This report will assist in understanding the natural history of HPV in both HIV-positive and HIV-negative women and men,” the researchers wrote. “Data from this study will also assist in informing HPV prevention strategies.”


Mbulawa ZZ. J Infect Dis. 2012;206:15-27.


The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.