HIV Therapy May Affect Human Papillomavirus

Highly active antiretroviral therapy enhances clearance in women with cervical disease

MONDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- In HIV-infected women with pre-existing abnormal cervical cytology, highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) may enhance clearance of human papillomavirus (HPV) in those who already have cervical disease, according to research published in the January issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Pangaja Paramsothy, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues evaluated 537 patients semi-annually from 1996 to 2000.

The researchers found that HAART was associated with increased HPV clearance in women with cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions (hazard ratio, 4.5) but not in women with normal cervical cytology or atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance cytology (HRs, 1.7 and 1.0, respectively). They also found that HAART was associated with neither an increased likelihood of cervical cytologic regression nor cervical cytologic progression (HRs, 1.3 and 0.7, respectively).

"Our findings, and those of others, suggest that antiretroviral therapy may ameliorate HPV-related disease," the authors conclude. "These effects do not occur rapidly and do not lead to complete resolution of cervical cytologic abnormalities in women with HIV; thus, close monitoring still is warranted."

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