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Female Smoking Linked to Reduced HPV Clearance

Effect not seen among HIV-positive women

FRIDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) -- HIV-negative women who smoke may be less likely to have clearance of high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) than women who don't smoke, according to a study in the July 15 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Jill Koshiol, M.S.P.H., now with the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues evaluated smoking and HPV clearance by HIV serostatus among 801 women from the HIV Epidemiology Research Study. This analysis included 522 HIV-positive and 279 HIV-negative women who were followed for an average of 4.4 years.

Overall, the mean duration of HPV infection was 1.2 years. HIV-negative women who reported ever smoking or current smoking showed reduced clearance of HPV (hazard ratio, 0.51), particularly high-risk types of the virus, compared to women who did not smoke. This finding did not hold true in HIV-positive women (hazard ratio, 0.96). HPV clearance did not appear to vary by amount or duration of smoking.

"These results suggest that HIV serostatus may modify the association between potential cofactors, such as smoking and HPV persistence," the study authors conclude. "Further studies are needed to evaluate risk factors for HPV persistence by HIV serostatus and to clarify whether the association between smoking and HPV clearance varies by specific HPV type."

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