(HealthDay News) — For HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women with normal cytology who are negative for oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV), the incidence of cervical precancer or cancer is similar, according to a study published in the July 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on HIV/AIDS, to coincide with the International AIDS Conference, held from July 22 to 27 in Washington, D.C.

Marla J. Keller, M.D., from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y., and colleagues examined the five-year cumulative incidence of cervical precancer or cancer, defined cytologically or histologically, in 420 HIV-infected and 279 HIV-uninfected women with a normal Papanicolaou test result at baseline who were negative for oncogenic HPV.

The researchers found that 88 percent of HIV-infected women and 91 percent of HIV-uninfected women with normal cervical cytology had no oncogenic HPV detected. During five years of follow-up there were two cases of high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions or greater among these HPV-negative women (one in an HIV-uninfected women and one in an HIV-infected women with a CD4 count of 500 cells/µmL or greater). Based on histologic data from four sites, there were six cases of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)-2 or greater in 145 HIV-uninfected women and nine cases in 219 HIV-infected women, for a cumulative incidence of 5 percent in both groups of women. CIN-3 was noted in one HIV-infected and one HIV-uninfected woman, but none had cancer.

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“The current investigation highlights the potential for a new era of molecular testing, including HPV as well as other biomarkers, to improve cervical cancer screening in HIV-infected women,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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