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1.  Bacterial Vaginosis Associated with Increased Risk of Female-to-Male HIV-1 Transmission: A Prospective Cohort Analysis among African Couples 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(6):e1001251.
In a prospective study, Craig Cohen and colleagues investigate the association between bacterial vaginosis and the risk of female-to-male HIV-1 transmission.
Background
Bacterial vaginosis (BV), a disruption of the normal vaginal flora, has been associated with a 60% increased risk of HIV-1 acquisition in women and higher concentration of HIV-1 RNA in the genital tract of HIV-1–infected women. However, whether BV, which is present in up to half of African HIV-1–infected women, is associated with an increase in HIV-1 transmission to male partners has not been assessed in previous studies.
Methods and Findings
We assessed the association between BV on female-to-male HIV-1 transmission risk in a prospective study of 2,236 HIV-1–seropositive women and their HIV-1 uninfected male partners from seven African countries from a randomized placebo-controlled trial that enrolled heterosexual African adults who were seropositive for both HIV-1 and herpes simplex virus (HSV)-2, and their HIV-1–seronegative partners. Participants were followed for up to 24 months; every three months, vaginal swabs were obtained from female partners for Gram stain and male partners were tested for HIV-1. BV and normal vaginal flora were defined as a Nugent score of 7–10 and 0–3, respectively. To reduce misclassification, HIV-1 sequence analysis of viruses from seroconverters and their partners was performed to determine linkage of HIV-1 transmissions. Overall, 50 incident HIV-1 infections occurred in men in which the HIV-1–infected female partner had an evaluable vaginal Gram stain. HIV-1 incidence in men whose HIV-1–infected female partners had BV was 2.91 versus 0.76 per 100 person-years in men whose female partners had normal vaginal flora (hazard ratio 3.62, 95% CI 1.74–7.52). After controlling for sociodemographic factors, sexual behavior, male circumcision, sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, and plasma HIV-1 RNA levels in female partners, BV was associated with a greater than 3-fold increased risk of female-to-male HIV-1 transmission (adjusted hazard ratio 3.17, 95% CI 1.37–7.33).
Conclusions
This study identified an association between BV and increased risk of HIV-1 transmission to male partners. Several limitations may affect the generalizability of our results including: all participants underwent couples HIV counseling and testing and enrolled in an HIV-1 prevention trial, and index participants had a baseline CD4 count ≥250 cells/mm3 and were HSV-2 seropositive. Given the high prevalence of BV and the association of BV with increased risk of both female HIV-1 acquisition and transmission found in our study, if this association proves to be causal, BV could be responsible for a substantial proportion of new HIV-1 infections in Africa. Normalization of vaginal flora in HIV-1–infected women could mitigate female-to-male HIV-1 transmission.
Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.com NCT00194519
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Since the first reported case of AIDS in 1981, the number of people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has risen steadily. By the end of 2010, 34 million people were living with HIV/AIDS. At the beginning of the epidemic more men than women were infected with HIV. Now, however, 50% of all adults infected with HIV are women and in sub-Saharan Africa, where two-thirds of HIV-positive people live, women account for 59% of people living with HIV. Moreover, among 15–24 year-olds, women are eight times more likely than men to be HIV-positive. This pattern of infection has developed because most people in sub-Saharan Africa contract HIV through unprotected heterosexual sex. The risk of HIV transmission for both men and women in Africa and elsewhere can be reduced by abstaining from sex, by only having one or a few partners, by always using condoms, and by male circumcision. In addition, several studies suggest that antiretroviral therapy (ART) greatly reduces HIV transmission.
Why Was This Study Done?
Unfortunately, in sub-Saharan Africa, only about a fifth of HIV-positive people are currently receiving ART, which means that there is an urgent need to find other effective ways to reduce HIV transmission in this region. In this prospective cohort study (a type of study that follows a group of people for some time to see which personal characteristics are associated with disease development), the researchers investigate whether bacterial vaginosis—a condition in which harmful bacteria disrupt the normal vaginal flora—increases the risk of female-to-male HIV transmission among African couples. Bacterial vaginosis, which is extremely common in sub-Saharan Africa, has been associated with an increased risk of HIV acquisition in women and induces viral replication and shedding in the vagina in HIV-positive women, which may mean that HIV-positive women with bacterial vaginosis are more likely to transmit HIV to their male partners than women without this condition. If this is the case, then interventions that reduce the incidence of bacterial vaginosis might be valuable HIV prevention strategies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed data collected from 2,236 heterosexual African couples enrolled in a clinical trial (the Partners in Prevention HSV/HIV Transmission Study) whose primary aim was to investigate whether suppression of herpes simplex virus infection could prevent HIV transmission. In all the couples, the woman was HIV-positive and the man was initially HIV-negative. The female partners were examined every three months for the presence of bacterial vaginosis and the male partners were tested regularly for HIV infection. The researchers also determined whether the men who became HIV-positive were infected with the same HIV strain as their partner to check that their infection had been acquired from this partner. The HIV incidence in men whose partners had bacterial vaginosis was 2.9 per 100 person-years (that is, 2.9 out of every 100 men became HIV-positive per year) whereas the HIV incidence in men whose partners had a normal vaginal flora was 0.76 per 100 person-years. After controlling for factors that might affect the risk of HIV transmission such as male circumcision and viral levels in female partner's blood, the researchers estimated that bacterial vaginosis was associated with a 3.17-fold increased risk of female-to-male HIV transmission in their study population.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that HIV-positive African women with bacterial vaginosis are more than three times as likely to transmit HIV to their male partners as those with a normal vaginal flora. It is possible that some unknown characteristic of the men in this study might have increased both their own risk of HIV infection and their partner's risk of bacterial vaginosis. Nevertheless, because bacterial vaginosis is so common in Africa (half of the women in this study had bacterial vaginosis at least once during follow-up) and because this condition is associated with both female HIV acquisition and transmission, these findings suggest that bacterial vaginosis could be responsible for a substantial proportion of new HIV infections in Africa. Normalization of vaginal flora in HIV-infected women by frequent presumptive treatment with antimicrobials (treatment with a curative dose of antibiotics without testing for bacterial vaginosis) or possibly by treatment with probiotics (live “good” bacteria) might, therefore, reduce female-to-male HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001251.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and infectious diseases on all aspects of HIV infection and AIDS and on bacterial vaginosis
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including specific information about HIV/AIDS and women; it also has information on bacterial vaginosis (in English and Spanish)
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment, and information on bacterial vaginosis and HIV transmission (in several languages)
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS nonprofit group on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including detailed information on HIV and AIDS prevention, on women, HIV and AIDS and on HIV/AIDS in Africa (in English and Spanish); personal stories of women living with HIV are available; the website Healthtalkonline also provides personal stories about living with HIV
More information about the Partners in Prevention HSV/HIV Transmission Study is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001251
PMCID: PMC3383741  PMID: 22745608
2.  Cervical Pap Screening Cytological Abnormalities among HIV-Infected Adolescents in the LEGACY Cohort 
Objectives
To determine the prevalence of cervical Pap screening (CPAP-S), identify factors associated with CPAP-S, and explore risk factors for abnormal cervical cytology in female adolescents with perinatally and behaviorally acquired HIV infection.
Design
Cross-sectional
Setting
LEGACY is a national observational cohort chart review study of 1478 HIV-infected persons (≤ age 24 years) managed in 22 HIV specialty clinics in the United States.
Participants
Sexually active females aged ≥13–24 years in the LEGACY cohort
Main Outcome measures
CPAP-S & abnormal cervical cytology.
Results
Of 231 sexually active female participants (>= 13 years) in 2006, 49% had CPAP-S documented since 2001. 58% of 113 cervical tests were abnormal (2% high-grade). In multivariable analysis, perinatal HIV infection and black race were associated with decreased likelihood of CPAP-S (adjusted prevalence ratio [APR] 0.66, 95% CI 0.45, 0.96 and APR 0.74, 95% CI 0.56, 0.96, respectively). Presence of any STI was independently associated with increased likelihood of CPAP-S (APR 1.56, 95% CI 1.21, 2.02). CD4+ T-lymphocyte count <200 cells/mL and previous STI were independently associated with increased likelihood of abnormal cervical cytology (APR 2.19, 95% CI 1.26, 3.78 & APR 1.94, 95% CI 1.29, 2.92, respectively).
Conclusions
Among sexually active HIV-infected adolescent females, prevalence of CPAP-S was low and cytology was abnormal in more than half of Pap smears. Perinatally HIV-infected, sexually active females were less likely to undergo CPAP-S than their behaviorally HIV-infected counterparts. Interventions targeted at HIV-infected adolescents and care providers are needed to improve CPAP-S in HIV-infected young women, especially those with perinatally acquired HIV infection.
doi:10.1016/j.jpag.2011.09.002
PMCID: PMC4152823  PMID: 22088311
Cervical Pap screening; HIV infection; Adolescents
3.  Anal Dysplasia Screening 
Executive Summary
Objective
This review considered the role of the anal Pap test as a screening test for anal dysplasia in patients at high risk of anal SCC. The screening process is now thought to be improved with the addition of testing for the human papillomavirus (HPV) in high-risk populations. High-resolution anoscopy (a method to view the rectal area, using an anoscope, a lighted instrument inserted into the rectum) rather than routine anoscopy-guided biopsy, is also now considered to be the diagnostic standard.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Anal cancer, like cervical cancer, is a member of a broader group of anogenital cancers known to be associated with sexually transmitted viral HPV infection. Human papillomavirus is extremely prevalent, particularly in young, sexually active populations. Sexual practices involving receptive anal intercourse lead to significantly elevated risk for anal dysplasia and cancer, particularly in those with immune dysfunctions.
Anal cancer is rare. It occurs at a rate of about 1 to 2 per 100,000 in the general population. It is the least common of the lower gastrointestinal cancers, representing about 4% of them, in contrast to colorectal cancers, which remain the third most commonly diagnosed malignancy. Certain segments of the population, however, such as HIV-positive men and women, other chronic immune-suppressed patients (e.g., after a transplant), injection drug users, and women with genital dysplasia /cancer, have a high susceptibility to anal cancer.
Those with the highest identified risk for anal cancer are HIV-positive homosexual and bisexual men, at a rate of 70 per 100,000 men. The risk for anal cancer is reported to be increasing dramatically in HIV-positive males and females, particularly since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy in the mid-1990s. The introduction of effective viral therapy has been said to have transformed the AIDS epidemic in developed countries into a chronic disease state of long-term immunosuppression. In Ontario, there are about 25,000 people living with HIV infection; more than 6,000 of these are women. About 28% of the newly diagnosed HIV infections are in women, a doubling since 1999. It has also been estimated that 1 of 3 people living with HIV do no know it.
Health Technology Description
Anal Pap test screening involves the blind insertion of a swab into the anal canal and fixing cells either on a slide or in fluid for cytological examination. Anal cytology classified by the standardized Bethesda System is the same classification used for cervical cytology. It has 4 categories: normal, atypical squamous cells of uncertain significance, or squamous intraepithelial lesions which are further classified into low- or high-grade lesions. Abnormal cytological findings are subjected to further evaluations by high-resolution anoscopy, a technique similar to cervical colposcopy, and biopsy. Several HPV deoxyribonucleic acid detection technologies such as the Hybrid 11 Capture and the polymerase chain reaction are available to detect and differentiate HPV viral strains.
Unlike cervical cancer, there are no universally accepted guidelines or standards of care for anal dysplasia. Moreover, there are no formal screening programs provincially, nationally, or internationally. The New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute has recently recommended (March 2007) annual anal pap testing in high-risk groups. In Ontario, reimbursement exists only for Pap tests for cervical cancer screening. That is, there is no reimbursement for anal Pap testing in men or women, and HPV screening tests for cervical or anal cancer are also not reimbursed.
Methods
The scientific evidence base was evaluated through a systematic literature review. Assessments of current practices were obtained through consultations with various agencies and individuals including the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care AIDS Bureau; Public Health Infectious Diseases Branch, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care; Cancer Care Ontario; HIV/AIDS researchers; pathology experts; and HIV/AIDS clinical program directors. An Ontario-based budget impact was also done.
Findings
No direct evidence was found for the existence of controlled studies evaluating the effectiveness of anal Pap test screening programs for impact on anal cancer morbidity or mortality. In addition, no studies were found on the use of HPV DNA testing in the screening or diagnostic setting for anal dysplasia. The reported prevalence of HPV infection in high-risk groups, particularly HIV-positive males, however, was sufficiently high to preclude any utility of HPV testing as an adjunct to anal Pap testing.
Nine reports involving studies in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada were identified that evaluated the performance characteristics of anal Pap test screening for anal dysplasia. All involved hospital-based specialty HIV/AIDS care clinics with mainly HIV-positive males. All studies involved experienced pathologists, so the results generally represent best-case scenarios. Estimates of anal Pap test sensitivity and specificity were highly variable, and depended on the varying prevalence of cytology abnormality and differential thresholds for abnormality for both cytology and histopathology.
In the largest study of HIV-positive males, sensitivity varied from 46% (95% confidence interval [CI], 36%–56%) to 69% (95% CI, 60%–78%). Specificity ranged from 59% (95% CI, 53%–65%) to 81% (95% CI, 76%–85%). In the only study of HIV-negative males, sensitivity ranged from 26% (95% CI, 5%-47%) to 47% (95% CI, 26%–68%). Specificity ranged from 81% (95% CI, 76%–85%) to 92% (95% CI, 89%–95%).
In comparison, cervical Pap testing has also been evaluated mainly in settings where there is a high prevalence of the disease, and estimates of sensitivitykij and specificity were also low and highly variable. In a systematic review involving cervical Pap testing, sensitivity ranged from 30% to 87% (mean, 47%) and specificity from 86% to 100% (mean, 95%).
Conclusions
No direct evidence exists to support the effectiveness of an anal Pap test screening program to reduce anal cancer mortality or morbidity. There are, however, strong parallels with cervical pap testing for cervical cancer. Sexually transmitted HPV viral infection is currently the acknowledged common causative agent for both anal and cervical cancer. Anal cancer rates in high-risk populations are approaching those of cervical cancer before the implementation of Pap testing.
The anal Pap test, although it has been mainly evaluated only in HIV-positive males, has similar operating characteristics of sensitivity and specificity as the cervical Pap test. In general, the treatment options for precancer dysplasia in the cervix and the anus are similar, but treatment involving a definitive surgical resection in the anus is more limited because of the higher risk of complications. A range of ablative therapies has been applied for anal dysplasia, but evidence on treatment effectiveness, tolerability and durability, particularly in the HIV-positive patient, is limited.
PMCID: PMC3377578  PMID: 23074504
4.  Effectiveness and Cost Effectiveness of Expanding Harm Reduction and Antiretroviral Therapy in a Mixed HIV Epidemic: A Modeling Analysis for Ukraine 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(3):e1000423.
A cost-effectiveness study by Sabina Alistar and colleagues evaluates the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of different levels of investment in methadone, ART, or both, in the mixed HIV epidemic in Ukraine.
Background
Injection drug use (IDU) and heterosexual virus transmission both contribute to the growing mixed HIV epidemics in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In Ukraine—chosen in this study as a representative country—IDU-related risk behaviors cause half of new infections, but few injection drug users (IDUs) receive methadone substitution therapy. Only 10% of eligible individuals receive antiretroviral therapy (ART). The appropriate resource allocation between these programs has not been studied. We estimated the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of strategies for expanding methadone substitution therapy programs and ART in mixed HIV epidemics, using Ukraine as a case study.
Methods and Findings
We developed a dynamic compartmental model of the HIV epidemic in a population of non-IDUs, IDUs using opiates, and IDUs on methadone substitution therapy, stratified by HIV status, and populated it with data from the Ukraine. We considered interventions expanding methadone substitution therapy, increasing access to ART, or both. We measured health care costs, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), HIV prevalence, infections averted, and incremental cost-effectiveness. Without incremental interventions, HIV prevalence reached 67.2% (IDUs) and 0.88% (non-IDUs) after 20 years. Offering methadone substitution therapy to 25% of IDUs reduced prevalence most effectively (to 53.1% IDUs, 0.80% non-IDUs), and was most cost-effective, averting 4,700 infections and adding 76,000 QALYs compared with no intervention at US$530/QALY gained. Expanding both ART (80% coverage of those eligible for ART according to WHO criteria) and methadone substitution therapy (25% coverage) was the next most cost-effective strategy, adding 105,000 QALYs at US$1,120/QALY gained versus the methadone substitution therapy-only strategy and averting 8,300 infections versus no intervention. Expanding only ART (80% coverage) added 38,000 QALYs at US$2,240/QALY gained versus the methadone substitution therapy-only strategy, and averted 4,080 infections versus no intervention. Offering ART to 80% of non-IDUs eligible for treatment by WHO criteria, but only 10% of IDUs, averted only 1,800 infections versus no intervention and was not cost effective.
Conclusions
Methadone substitution therapy is a highly cost-effective option for the growing mixed HIV epidemic in Ukraine. A strategy that expands both methadone substitution therapy and ART to high levels is the most effective intervention, and is very cost effective by WHO criteria. When expanding ART, access to methadone substitution therapy provides additional benefit in infections averted. Our findings are potentially relevant to other settings with mixed HIV epidemics.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
HIV epidemics in Eastern Europe and Central Asia are mainly driven by increasing use of injection drugs combined with heterosexual transmission. In the Ukraine, in 2007, there were 82,000 officially registered people living with HIV—three times the number registered in 1999—and an estimated 395,000 HIV infected adults. The epidemic in Ukraine, like other countries in the region, is concentrated in at-risk populations, particularly people who inject drugs: in 2007, an estimated 390,000 Ukrainians were injecting drugs, an increase in drug use over the previous decade, not only in Ukraine, but in other former USSR states, owing to the easy availability of precursors for injection drugs in a climate of economic collapse.
The common practices of people who inject drugs in Ukraine and in other countries in the region, such as social injecting, syringe sharing, and using common containers, increase the risk of transmitting HIV. Public health interventions such as needle exchange can limit these risk factors and have been gradually implemented in these countries. In 2007, Ukraine approved the use of methadone substitution therapy and the current target is for 11,000 people who inject drugs to be enrolled in substitution therapy by 2011. Furthermore, since treatment for HIV-infected individuals is also necessary, national HIV control plans included a target of 90% antiretroviral therapy (ART) coverage by 2010 but in 2007 less than 10% of the 91,000 eligible people received treatment. Although the number of people who inject drugs and who receive ART is unknown, physicians are often reluctant to treat people who inject drugs using ART owing to alleged poor compliance.
Why Was This Study Done?
As resources for HIV interventions in the region are limited, it is important to investigate the appropriate balance between investments in methadone substitution therapy and ART in order to maximize benefits to public health. Several studies have analyzed the cost effectiveness of methadone substitution therapy in similar settings but have not considered tradeoffs between ART and methadone substitution therapy. Therefore, to provide insights into the appropriate public health investment in methadone substitution therapy and ART in Ukraine, the researchers evaluated the public health effectiveness and cost effectiveness of different strategies for scaling up methadone substitution therapy and/or expanding ART.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers developed a model to accommodate different population groups: people who inject drugs on substitution therapy with methadone; people who inject opiates and do not take any substitution therapy; and people who do not inject any drugs, hence do not need substitution therapy. The researchers inputted Ukraine country-level data into this model and used current HIV trends in Ukraine to make rational assumptions on possible future trends and scenarios. They considered scenarios expanding methadone substitution therapy availability, increasing acces to ART, or both. Then, the researchers measured health care costs, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), HIV prevalence, infections averted, and incremental cost effectiveness for the different scenarios. They found that after 20 years, HIV prevalence reached 67.2% in people who inject drugs and 0.88% in people who do not inject drugs without further interventions. Offering methadone substitution therapy to 25% of people who inject drugs was the most effective strategy in reducing prevalence of HIV and was also the most cost effective, averting 4,700 infections and adding 75,700 QALYs versus the status quo at $530/QALY gained. Expanding both methadone substitution therapy and ART was also a highly cost effective option, adding 105,000 QALYs at US$1,120/QALY gained versus the methadone substitution therapy-only strategy. Offering ART to 80% of eligible people who did not inject drugs, and 10% of people who injected drugs averted only 1,800 infections, and added 76,400 QALYs at $1,330/QALY gained.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The results show that methadone substitution-focused therapeutic scenarios are the most cost effective, and that benefits increase with the scale of the project, even among people who do not inject drugs. This makes a methadone substitution strategy a highly cost-effective option for addressing the growing HIV epidemic in Ukraine. Therefore, if it is not feasible to invest in large-scale methadone substitution programs for any reason, political circumstances for example, providing as much methadone substitution as is acceptable is still desirable. While substitution therapy appears to avert the most HIV infections, expanded ART provides the largest total increase in QALYs. Thus, methadone substitution therapy and ART offer complementary benefits. Because the HIV epidemic in Ukraine is representative of the HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the cost-effective strategies that the researchers have identified may help inform all decision makers faced with a mixed HIV epidemic.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000423.
Alliance provides information on its work supporting community action on AIDS in Ukraine
USAID provides an HIV/AIDS Health Profile for Ukraine
UNICEF provides information about its activities to help Ukraine fight rising HIV/AIDS infection rates
International Harm Reduction Association provides information about the status of harm reduction interventions such as methadone substitution therapy around the world
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000423
PMCID: PMC3046988  PMID: 21390264
5.  Cervical Screening at Age 50–64 Years and the Risk of Cervical Cancer at Age 65 Years and Older: Population-Based Case Control Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(1):e1001585.
Peter Sasieni and colleagues use a population-based case control study to assess the risk of cervical cancer in screened women aged over 65 years to help inform policy on the upper age of cervical cancer screening.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
There is little consensus, and minimal evidence, regarding the age at which to stop cervical screening. We studied the association between screening at age 50–64 y and cervical cancer at age 65–83 y.
Methods and Findings
Cases were women (n = 1,341) diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 65–83 y between 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2012 in England and Wales; age-matched controls (n = 2,646) were randomly selected from population registers. Screening details from 1988 onwards were extracted from national databases. We calculated the odds ratios (OR) for different screening histories and subsequent cervical cancer. Women with adequate negative screening at age 65 y (288 cases, 1,395 controls) were at lowest risk of cervical cancer (20-y risk: 8 cancers per 10,000 women) compared with those (532 cases, 429 controls) not screened at age 50–64 y (20-y risk: 49 cancers per 10,000 women, with OR = 0.16, 95% CI 0.13–0.19). ORs depended on the age mix of women because of the weakening association with time since last screen: OR = 0.11, 95% CI 0.08–0.14 at 2.5 to 7.5 y since last screen; OR = 0.27, 95% CI 0.20–0.36 at 12.5 to 17.5 y since last screen. Screening at least every 5.5 y between the ages 50 and 64 y was associated with a 75% lower risk of cervical cancer between the ages 65 and 79 y (OR = 0.25, 95% CI 0.21–0.30), and the attributable risk was such that in the absence of screening, cervical cancer rates in women aged 65+ would have been 2.4 (95% CI 2.1–2.7) times higher. In women aged 80–83 y the association was weaker (OR = 0.49, 95% CI 0.28–0.83) than in those aged 65–69 y (OR = 0.12, 95% CI 0.09–0.17). This study was limited by an absence of data on confounding factors; additionally, findings based on cytology may not generalise to human papillomavirus testing.
Conclusions
Women with adequate negative screening at age 50–64 y had one-sixth of the risk of cervical cancer at age 65–83 y compared with women who were not screened. Stopping screening between ages 60 and 69 y in women with adequate negative screening seems sensible, but further screening may be justifiable as life expectancy increases.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Nearly one in ten cancers diagnosed in women occur in the cervix, the structure that connects the womb to the vagina. Every year, more than a quarter of a million women (mostly in developing countries) die because of cervical cancer, which occurs only after the cervix has been infected with human papillomavirus (HPV) through sexual intercourse. In the earliest stages of cervical cancer, abnormal cells begin to grow in the cervix. Cells with low-grade abnormalities (changes that often revert to normal), cells with high-grade abnormalities (which are more likely to become cancerous), and cancer cells can all be detected by collecting a few cells from the cervix and examining them under a microscope. This test forms the basis of cervical screening, which has greatly reduced cervical cancer deaths in countries with a national screening program by ensuring that cervical abnormalities are detected at an early, treatable stage. In the UK, for example, since the start of a cervical screening program in 1988 in which women aged 25–64 years are called for testing every 3–5 years, the incidence of cervical cancer (the number of new cases per year) has almost halved at a time when sexually transmitted diseases have more than doubled.
Why Was This Study Done?
Currently, there is little consensus about the age at which cervical screening should stop, and minimal evidence about the impact of cervical screening on the incidence of cervical cancer in older women. In this population-based case control study (a study that compares the characteristics of all the cases of a disease in a population with the characteristics of matched individuals without the disease), the researchers examine the association between screening in women aged 50–64 years and cervical cancer in women aged 65–83 years. They ask whether well-screened women with a history of negative results and no evidence of high-grade abnormalities are at sufficiently low risk of cervical cancer that screening can be stopped at age 65 years, and whether women who are regularly screened (at least once every 5.5 years) between the ages of 50 and 64 years are subsequently at reduced risk of cervical cancer.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers randomly selected two age-matched controls for every woman aged 65–83 years who was diagnosed with cervical cancer between 2007 and 2012 in England and Wales. The researchers included 1,341 women with cervical cancer and 2,646 controls. They extracted each woman's cervical screening details from national databases and calculated the association between screening history and subsequent cervical cancer. Women with adequate negative screening at age 65 years (at least three tests at age 50–64 years with the last one over age 60, the last three of which were negative, and no evidence of high-grade abnormalities) were at the lowest risk of cervical cancer (20-year risk of eight cancers per 10,000 women) compared with unscreened women (20-year risk of 49 cancers per 10,000 women). That is, women who were not screened at age 50–64 years were six times more likely to develop cervical cancer between the ages of 65 and 83 years than women who were screened. The risk of developing cervical cancer among adequately negatively screened women increased with age and with time since the last screen. Finally, the researchers estimate that in the absence of any cervical screening, the rate of cervical cancer among women aged 65–79 years would be 23 cases per 100,000 woman-years, 2.4 times higher than the current rate.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that women who exited the screening program in England and Wales with a history of adequate negative screening between the ages of 50 and 64 years were at a very low risk of being diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 65 years or older. The “protection” provided by screening was greatest for women aged 65–69 years and decreased steadily with increasing age and with time since the last negative screen. Because the researchers did not have any information on other characteristics that might have affected cervical cancer risk (for example, number of sexual partners), the women who were screened may have shared other characteristics that reduced their risk of developing cervical cancer. Moreover, these findings, which are based on microscopic examination of cells, may not generalise to the HPV-based screening programs that many countries are considering. Despite these limitations, the researchers conclude that, for now, it seems sensible to continue screening at least until age 60 years and not beyond age 69 years in women with adequate negative screening, but that given increasing life expectancy, screening in older women might be justified in the future.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001585.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Anne Rositch and colleagues
The US National Cancer Institute provides information about cervical cancer for patients and for health professionals, including information on cervical screening (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information about cervical cancer and about cervical screening
The UK National Health Service Cervical Screening Programme website has detailed information and statistics on cervical screening in England
The UK National Health Service Choices website has pages on cervical cancer (including a personal story about cervical cancer) and on cervical screening (including personal comments about screening)
Cancer Research UK provides detailed information about all aspects of cervical cancer
More information about cervical cancer and screening is available from the Macmillan cancer charity
MedlinePlus provides links to additional resources about cervical cancer and screening (in English and Spanish)
Personal stories about cervical cancer and about cervical screening are available through the charity Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001585
PMCID: PMC3891624  PMID: 24453946
6.  Factors Associated with Colposcopy-Histopathology Confirmed Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia among HIV-Infected Women from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e18297.
Introduction
Despite the availability of preventive strategies (screening tests and vaccines), cervical cancer continues to impose a significant health burden in low- and medium-resourced countries. HIV-infected women are at increased risk for infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) and thus development of cervical squamous intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN).
Methods
Study participants included HIV-infected women enrolling the prospective open cohort of Evandro Chagas Clinical Research Institute, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (IPEC/FIOCRUZ). At cohort entry, women were subjected to conventional Papanicolaou test, HPV-DNA test and colposcopy; lesions suspicious for CIN were biopsied. Histopathology report was based on directed biopsy or on specimens obtained by excision of the transformation zone or cervical conization. Poisson regression modeling was used to assess factors associated with CIN2+ diagnosis.
Results
The median age of the 366 HIV-infected women included in the study was 34 years (interquartile range: 28–41 years). The prevalence of CIN1, CIN2 and CIN3 were 20.0%, 3.5%, and 2.2%, respectively. One woman was found to have cervical cancer. The prevalence of CIN2+ was 6.0%. Factors associated with CIN2+ diagnosis in the multivariate model were age < years compared to ≥35 years (aPR  =  3.22 95%CI 1.23–8.39), current tobacco use (aPR  =  3.69 95%CI 1.54–8.78), nadir CD4 T-cell count <350 cells/mm3 when compared to ≥ 350 cells/mm3 (aPR  =  6.03 95%CI 1.50–24.3) and concomitant diagnosis of vulvar and/or vaginal intraepithelial lesion (aPR  =  2.68 95%CI 0.99–7.24).
Discussion
Increased survival through wide-spread use of highly active antiretroviral therapy might allow for the development of cervical cancer. In Brazil, limited cytology screening and gynecological care adds further complexity to the HIV-HPV co-infection problem. Integrated HIV care and cervical cancer prevention programs are needed for the prevention of cervical cancer mortality in this group of women.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0018297
PMCID: PMC3068170  PMID: 21479179
7.  Long-Term Biological and Behavioural Impact of an Adolescent Sexual Health Intervention in Tanzania: Follow-up Survey of the Community-Based MEMA kwa Vijana Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(6):e1000287.
David Ross and colleagues conduct a follow-up survey of the community-based MEMA kwa Vijana (“Good things for young people”) trial in rural Tanzania to assess the long-term behavioral and biological impact of an adolescent sexual health intervention.
Background
The ability of specific behaviour-change interventions to reduce HIV infection in young people remains questionable. Since January 1999, an adolescent sexual and reproductive health (SRH) intervention has been implemented in ten randomly chosen intervention communities in rural Tanzania, within a community randomised trial (see below; NCT00248469). The intervention consisted of teacher-led, peer-assisted in-school education, youth-friendly health services, community activities, and youth condom promotion and distribution. Process evaluation in 1999–2002 showed high intervention quality and coverage. A 2001/2 intervention impact evaluation showed no impact on the primary outcomes of HIV seroincidence and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) seroprevalence but found substantial improvements in SRH knowledge, reported attitudes, and some reported sexual behaviours. It was postulated that the impact on “upstream” knowledge, attitude, and reported behaviour outcomes seen at the 3-year follow-up would, in the longer term, lead to a reduction in HIV and HSV-2 infection rates and other biological outcomes. A further impact evaluation survey in 2007/8 (∼9 years post-intervention) tested this hypothesis.
Methods and Findings
This is a cross-sectional survey (June 2007 through July 2008) of 13,814 young people aged 15–30 y who had attended trial schools during the first phase of the MEMA kwa Vijana intervention trial (1999–2002). Prevalences of the primary outcomes HIV and HSV-2 were 1.8% and 25.9% in males and 4.0% and 41.4% in females, respectively. The intervention did not significantly reduce risk of HIV (males adjusted prevalence ratio [aPR] 0.91, 95%CI 0.50–1.65; females aPR 1.07, 95%CI 0.68–1.67) or HSV-2 (males aPR 0.94, 95%CI 0.77–1.15; females aPR 0.96, 95%CI 0.87–1.06). The intervention was associated with a reduction in the proportion of males reporting more than four sexual partners in their lifetime (aPR 0.87, 95%CI 0.78–0.97) and an increase in reported condom use at last sex with a non-regular partner among females (aPR 1.34, 95%CI 1.07–1.69). There was a clear and consistent beneficial impact on knowledge, but no significant impact on reported attitudes to sexual risk, reported pregnancies, or other reported sexual behaviours. The study population was likely to have been, on average, at lower risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections compared to other rural populations, as only youth who had reached year five of primary school were eligible.
Conclusions
SRH knowledge can be improved and retained long-term, but this intervention had only a limited effect on reported behaviour and no significant effect on HIV/STI prevalence. Youth interventions integrated within intensive, community-wide risk reduction programmes may be more successful and should be evaluated.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00248469
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, about 2.5 million people become infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is most often spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner, so individuals can reduce their risk of HIV infection by abstaining from sex, by delaying first sex, by having few partners, and by always using a condom. And, because nearly half of new HIV infections occur among youths (15- to 24-year-olds), programs targeted at adolescents that encourage these protective behaviors could have a substantial impact on the HIV epidemic. One such program is the MEMA kwa Vijana (“Good things for young people”) program in rural Tanzania. This program includes in-school sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education for pupils in their last three years of primary education (12- to 15-year-olds) that provides them with the knowledge and skills needed to delay sexual debut and to reduce sexual risk taking. Between 1999 and 2002, the program was trialed in ten randomly chosen rural communities in the Mwanza Region of Tanzania; ten similar communities that did not receive the intervention acted as controls. Since 2004, the program has been scaled up to cover more communities.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although the quality and coverage of the MEMA kwa Vijana program was good, a 2001/2002 evaluation found no evidence that the intervention had reduced the incidence of HIV (the proportion of the young people in the trial who became HIV positive during the follow-up period) or the prevalence (the proportion of the young people in the trial who were HIV positive at the end of the follow-up period) of herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2, another sexually transmitted virus). However, the evaluation found improvements in SRH knowledge, in reported sexual attitudes, and in some reported sexual behaviors. Evaluations of other HIV prevention programs in other developing countries have also failed to provide strong evidence that such programs decrease the risk of HIV infection or other biological outcomes such as the frequency of other sexually transmitted infections or pregnancies, even when SRH knowledge improves. One possibility is that it takes some time for improved SRH knowledge to be reflected in true changes in sexual behavior and in HIV prevalence. In this follow-up study, therefore, researchers investigate the long-term impact of the MEMA kwa Vijana program on HIV and HSV-2 prevalence and ask whether the improvement in knowledge, reported attitudes and sexual risk behaviours seen at the 3-year follow up has persisted.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In 2007/8, the researchers surveyed nearly 14,000 young people who had attended the trial schools between 1999 and 2002. Each participant had their HIV and HSV-2 status determined and answered questions (for example, “can HIV be caught by sexual intercourse (making love) with someone,” and “if a girl accepts a gift from a boy, must she agree to have sexual intercourse (make love) with him?”) to provide three composite sexual knowledge scores and one composite attitude score. 1.8% of the male and 4.0% of the female participants were HIV positive; 25.9% and 41.4% of the male and female participants, respectively, were HSV-2 positive. The prevalences were similar among the young people whose trial communities had been randomly allocated to receive the MEMA kwa Vijana Program and those whose communities had not received it, indicating that the MEMA kwa Vijana intervention program had not reduced the risk of HIV or HSV-2. The intervention program was associated, however, with a reduction in the proportion of men reporting more than four sexual partners in their lifetime and with an increase in reported condom use at last sex with a non-regular partner among women. Finally, although the intervention had still increased SRH knowledge, it now had had no impact on reported attitudes to sexual risk, reported pregnancies, or other reported risky sexual behaviors beyond what might have happened due to chance.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, in the MEMA kwa Vijana trial, SRH knowledge improved and that this improved knowledge was retained for many years. Disappointingly, however, this intervention program had only a limited effect on reported sexual behaviors and no effect on HIV and HSV-2 prevalence at the 9-year follow-up. Although these findings may not be generalizable to other adolescent populations, they suggest that intervention programs that target only adolescents might not be particularly effective. Young people might find it hard to put their improved skills and knowledge into action when challenged, for example, by widespread community attitudes such as acceptance of older male–younger female relationships. Thus, the researchers suggest that the integration of youth HIV prevention programs within risk reduction programs that tackle sexual norms and expectations in all age groups might be a more successful approach and should be evaluated.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000287.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Rachel Jewkes
More information about the MEMA kwa Vijana program is available at their Web site
Information is available from the Programme for Research and Capacity Building in Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV in Developing Countries on recent and ongoing research on HIV infection and other STIs
Information is available from the World Health Organization on HIV and on the health of young people
Information on HIV is available from UNAIDS
Information on HIV in children and adolescents is available from UNICEF
Information on HIV prevention interventions in the education sector is available from UNESCO
Information on HIV infection and AIDS is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information on HIV/AIDS and on HIV/AIDS among youth (in English and Spanish)
HIV InSitehas comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including links to information on the prevention of HIV/AIDS
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV and AIDS prevention and AIDS and sex education (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000287
PMCID: PMC2882431  PMID: 20543994
8.  Risk of Cervical Pre-Cancer and Cancer Among HIV-Infected Women With Normal Cervical Cytology and No Evidence of Oncogenic HPV Infection 
Context
U.S. cervical cancer screening guidelines for HIV-uninfected women 30 years of age and older have recently been revised, increasing the suggested interval between Pap tests from three years to five years among those with normal cervical cytology (the Pap test) who test negative for oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV). Whether a three-year or five-year screening interval might be used in HIV-infected women who are cytologically normal and oncogenic HPV-negative is unknown.
Objective
To determine the risk of cervical pre-cancer or cancer defined cytologically (high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions or greater [HSIL+]) or histologically (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2 or greater [CIN-2+]), as two separate endpoints, in HIV-infected women and HIV-uninfected women who at baseline had a normal Pap test and were negative for oncogenic HPV.
Design, Setting and Participants
Participants included 420 HIV-infected women and 279 HIV-uninfected women with normal cervical cytology at their enrollment in a multi-institutional cohort, between October 1, 2001 and September 30, 2002, with follow-up through April 30, 2011. Clinical sites were in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. Semi-annual visits included Pap testing and, if indicated, cervical biopsy. Cervicovaginal lavage specimens from enrollment were tested for HPV DNA using PCR. The primary analysis was truncated at five years of follow-up.
Main Outcome Measure
The five-year cumulative incidence of cervical pre-cancer and cancer.
Results
No oncogenic HPV was detected in 369 (88%; 95% CI, 84%-91%) of the HIV-infected women and 255 (91%; 95% CI, 88%-94%) of the HIV-uninfected women with normal cervical cytology at enrollment. Among these oncogenic HPV-negative women two cases of HSIL+ were observed; an HIV-uninfected woman and an HIV-infected woman with a CD4 cell count of 500/μL or greater. Histologic data were obtained from four of the six sites. There were six cases of CIN-2+ in N=145 HIV-uninfected women (cumulative incidence = 5% [95% CI, 1%-8%]) and nine cases in N=219 HIV-infected women (cumulative incidence = 5% [95% CI, 2%-8%]). This included one case of CIN-2+ in N=44 oncogenic HPV-negative HIV-infected women with CD4 cell counts less than 350/μL (cumulative incidence = 2% [95% CI, 0%-7%]), one case in N=47 women with CD4 cell counts of 350 to 499/μL (cumulative incidence = 2% [95% CI, 0%-7%]), and seven cases in N=128 women with CD4 cell counts of 500/μL or greater (cumulative incidence = 6% [95% CI, 2%-10%]). One HIV-infected and one HIV-uninfected woman had CIN-3, but none had cancer.
Conclusion
The five-year cumulative incidence of HSIL+ and CIN-2+ was similar in HIV-infected women and HIV-uninfected women who were cytologically normal and oncogenic HPV-negative at enrollment.
doi:10.1001/jama.2012.5664
PMCID: PMC3556987  PMID: 22820789
9.  The Role of HIV-Related Stigma in Utilization of Skilled Childbirth Services in Rural Kenya: A Prospective Mixed-Methods Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(8):e1001295.
Janet Turan and colleagues examined the role of the perception of women in rural Kenya of HIV-related stigma during pregnancy on their subsequent utilization of maternity services.
Background
Childbirth with a skilled attendant is crucial for preventing maternal mortality and is an important opportunity for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The Maternity in Migori and AIDS Stigma Study (MAMAS Study) is a prospective mixed-methods investigation conducted in a high HIV prevalence area in rural Kenya, in which we examined the role of women's perceptions of HIV-related stigma during pregnancy in their subsequent utilization of maternity services.
Methods and Findings
From 2007–2009, 1,777 pregnant women with unknown HIV status completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire assessing their perceptions of HIV-related stigma before being offered HIV testing during their first antenatal care visit. After the visit, a sub-sample of women was selected for follow-up (all women who tested HIV-positive or were not tested for HIV, and a random sample of HIV-negative women, n = 598); 411 (69%) were located and completed another questionnaire postpartum. Additional qualitative in-depth interviews with community health workers, childbearing women, and family members (n = 48) aided our interpretation of the quantitative findings and highlighted ways in which HIV-related stigma may influence birth decisions. Qualitative data revealed that health facility birth is commonly viewed as most appropriate for women with pregnancy complications, such as HIV. Thus, women delivering at health facilities face the risk of being labeled as HIV-positive in the community. Our quantitative data revealed that women with higher perceptions of HIV-related stigma (specifically those who held negative attitudes about persons living with HIV) at baseline were subsequently less likely to deliver in a health facility with a skilled attendant, even after adjusting for other known predictors of health facility delivery (adjusted odds ratio = 0.44, 95% CI 0.22–0.88).
Conclusions
Our findings point to the urgent need for interventions to reduce HIV-related stigma, not only for improving quality of life among persons living with HIV, but also for better health outcomes among all childbearing women and their families.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, nearly 350,000 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications. Almost all these “maternal” deaths occur in developing countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the maternal mortality ratio (the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) is 500 whereas in industrialized countries it is only 12. Most maternal deaths are caused by hemorrhage (severe bleeding after childbirth), post-delivery infections, obstructed (difficult) labor, and blood pressure disorders during pregnancy. All these conditions can be prevented if women have access to adequate reproductive health services and if trained health care workers are present during delivery. Notably, in sub-Saharan Africa, infection with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) is an increasingly important contributor to maternal mortality. HIV infection causes maternal mortality directly by increasing the occurrence of pregnancy complications and indirectly by increasing the susceptibility of pregnant women to malaria, tuberculosis, and other “opportunistic” infections—HIV-positive individuals are highly susceptible to other infections because HIV destroys the immune system.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although skilled delivery attendants reduce maternal mortality, there are many barriers to their use in developing countries including cost and the need to travel long distances to health facilities. Fears and experiences of HIV-related stigma and discrimination (prejudice, negative attitudes, abuse, and maltreatment directed at people living with HIV) may also be a barrier to the use of skilled childbirth service. Maternity services are prime locations for HIV testing and for the provision of interventions for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV, so pregnant women know that they will have to “deal with” the issue of HIV when visiting these services. In this prospective mixed-methods study, the researchers examine the role of pregnant women's perceptions of HIV-related stigma in their subsequent use of maternity services in Nyanza Province, Kenya, a region where 16% women aged 15–49 are HIV-positive and where only 44.2% of mothers give birth in a health facility. A mixed-methods study combines qualitative data—how people feel about an issue—with quantitative data—numerical data about outcomes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In the Maternity in Migori and AIDS Stigma (MAMAS) study, pregnant women with unknown HIV status living in rural regions of Nyanza Province answered questions about their perceptions of HIV-related stigma before being offered HIV testing during their first antenatal clinic visit. After delivery, the researchers asked the women who tested HIV positive or were not tested for HIV and a sample of HIV-negative women where they had delivered their baby. They also gathered qualitative information about barriers to maternity and HIV service use by interviewing childbearing women, family members, and community health workers. The qualitative data indicate that labor in a health facility is commonly viewed as being most appropriate for women with pregnancy complications such as HIV infection. Thus, women delivering at health facilities risk being labeled as HIV positive, a label that the community associates with promiscuity. The quantitative data indicate that women with more negative attitudes about HIV-positive people (higher perceptions of HIV-related stigma) at baseline were about half as likely to deliver in a health facility with a skilled attendant as women with more positive attitudes about people living with HIV.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that HIV-related stigma is associated with the low rate of delivery by skilled attendants in rural areas of Nyanza Province and possibly in other rural regions of sub-Saharan Africa. Community mobilization efforts aimed at increasing the use of PMTCT services may be partly responsible for the strong perception that delivery in a health facility is most appropriate for women with HIV and other pregnancy complications and may have inadvertently strengthened the perception that women who give birth in such facilities are likely to be HIV positive. The researchers suggest, therefore, that health messages should stress that delivery in a health facility is recommended for all women, not just HIV-positive women or those with pregnancy complications, and that interventions should be introduced to reduce HIV-related stigma. This combined strategy has the potential to increase the use of maternity services by all women and the use of HIV and PMTCT services, thereby reducing some of the most pressing health problems facing women and their children in sub-Saharan Africa.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001295.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) provides information on maternal mortality, including the WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA/World Bank 2008 country estimates of maternal mortality; a UNICEF special report tells the stories of seven mothers living with HIV in Lesotho
The World Health Organization provides information on maternal health, including information about Millennium Development Goal 5, which aims to reduce maternal mortality (in several languages); the Millennium Development Goals, which were agreed by world leaders in 2000, are designed to eradicate extreme poverty worldwide by 2015
Immpact is a global research initiative for the evaluation of safe motherhood intervention strategies
Maternal Death: The Avoidable Crisis is a briefing paper published by the independent humanitarian medical aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in March 2012
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on women, HIV and AIDS, on HIV and pregnancy, on HIV and AIDS stigma and discrimination, and on HIV in Kenya (in English and Spanish); Avert also has personal stories from women living with HIV
The Stigma Action Network (SAN) is a collaborative endeavor that aims to comprehensively coordinate efforts to develop and expand program, research, and advocacy strategies for reducing HIV stigma worldwide, including mobilizing stakeholders, delivering program and policy solutions, and maximizing investments in HIV programs and services globally
The People Living with Stigma Index aims to address stigma relating to HIV and advocate on key barriers and issues perpetuating stigma; it has recently published Piecing it together for women and girls, the gender dimensions of HIV-related stigma
The Health Policy Project http://www.healthpolicyproject.com has prepared a review of the academic and programmatic literature on stigma and discrimination as barriers to achievement of global goals for maternal health and the elimination of new child HIV infections (see under Resources)
More information on the MAMAS study is available from the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001295
PMCID: PMC3424253  PMID: 22927800
10.  Human Papillomavirus Prevalence and Genotype Distribution among HIV-Infected Women in Korea 
The epidemiology on human papillomavirus (HPV) among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected women in Korea is not well established. A retrospective study was conducted to determine the prevalence and genotype distribution of HPV infection among HIV-infected women in Korea. HPV DNA genotype and cervical cytology were examined in 60 HIV-positive women and 1,938 HIV-negative women. HPV genotypes were analyzed by using a HPV DNA chip. HIV-infected women had higher prevalence of high-risk HPV (hr-HPV) infection (30% vs 4.9%, adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 6.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.63-13.34, P<0.001) and abnormal cervical cytology (18.3% vs 1.8%, AOR, 10.94; 95% CI, 5.18-23.1, P<0.001) compared with controls. The most common hr-HPV genotype detected in HIV-infected women was HPV 16 (10%), followed by 18 (6.7%) and 52 (5%). Prevalence of quadrivalent vaccine-preventable types (HPV 6, 11, 16, and 18) was 21.7% and 2.3% in HIV-positive women and HIV-negative women, respectively. Age was a significant risk factor for hr-HPV infection in HIV-infected women (P=0.039). The presence of hr-HPV was significantly associated with abnormal cervical cytology (P<0.001). These findings suggest that HPV testing for cervical cancer screening in HIV-infected women would be necessary, particularly among young age group.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2014.29.1.32
PMCID: PMC3890473  PMID: 24431902
HIV; Women; Human Papillomavirus; Prevalence; Genotype
11.  Association of HIV infection with distribution and viral load of HPV types in Kenya: a survey with 820 female sex workers 
Background
Human papillomavirus (HPV) and HIV are each responsible for a considerable burden of disease. Interactions between these infections pose substantial public health challenges, especially where HIV prevalence is high and HPV vaccine coverage low.
Methods
Between July 2005 and January 2006, a cross-sectional community-based survey in Mombasa, Kenya, enrolled female sex workers using snowball sampling. After interview and a gynaecological examination, blood and cervical cytology samples were taken. Quantitative real-time PCR detected HPV types and viral load measures. Prevalence of high-risk HPV was compared between HIV-infected and -uninfected women, and in women with abnormal cervical cytology, measured using conventional Pap smears.
Results
Median age of the 820 participants was 28 years (inter-quartile range [IQR] = 24-36 years). One third of women were HIV infected (283/803; 35.2%) and these women were y more likely to have abnormal cervical cytology than HIV-negative women (27%, 73/269, versus 8%, 42/503; P < 0.001). Of HIV-infected women, 73.3% had high-risk HPV (200/273) and 35.5% had HPV 16 and/or 18 (97/273). Corresponding figures for HIV-negative women were 45.5% (229/503) and 15.7% (79/503). After adjusting for age, number of children and condom use, high-risk HPV was 3.6 fold more common in HIV-infected women (95%CI = 2.6-5.1). Prevalence of all 15 of the high-risk HPV types measured was higher among HIV-infected women, between 1.4 and 5.5 fold. Median total HPV viral load was 881 copies/cell in HIV-infected women (IQR = 33-12,110 copies/cell) and 48 copies/cell in HIV-uninfected women (IQR = 6-756 copies/cell; P < 0.001). HPV 16 and/or HPV 18 were identified in 42.7% of LSIL (32/75) and 42.3% of HSIL (11/26) lesions (P = 0.98). High-risk HPV types other than 16 and 18 were common in LSIL (74.7%; 56/75) and HSIL (84.6%; 22/26); even higher among HIV-infected women.
Conclusions
HIV-infected sex workers had almost four-fold higher prevalence of high-risk HPV, raised viral load and more precancerous lesions. HPV 16 and HPV 18, preventable with current vaccines, were associated with cervical disease, though other high-risk types were commoner. HIV-infected sex workers likely contribute disproportionately to HPV transmission dynamics in the general population. Current efforts to prevent HIV and HPV are inadequate. New interventions are required and improved implementation of existing strategies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-18
PMCID: PMC2845133  PMID: 20102630
12.  Rapid Rise in Detection of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection Soon After Incident HIV Infection Among South African Women 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;203(4):479-486.
Background. It is well established that the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is increased among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–positive individuals, but the temporal relationships between these infections are unclear.
Methods. During a South African cervical cancer screening trial, 5595 women 35–65 years of age were followed up for 36 months; 577 women were HIV positive at enrollment, HIV seroconversion occurred in 123 women, and 4895 women remained HIV negative throughout. Tests for high-risk HPV DNA and cytology were performed on cervical samples, and a colposcopy/biopsy was performed at each visit. The effects of early HIV infection on the risk of HPV infection and HPV-related disease were evaluated.
Results. Among seroconverters, HPV infection prevalence was 20.3% before seroconversion, 23.6% at seroconversion (P = .4), and 49.1% after seroconversion (P = .01). Seroconverters had significantly lower HPV infection prevalence than women with prevalent HIV infection before and at seroconversion (41.8% and 45.9%, respectively) but had similar HPV infection prevalence to women with prevalent HIV infection after seroconversion (49.4%). HIV seroconversion was associated with newly detected HPV infection (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR], 4.02; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.26–7.13) and increased risk of low-grade cytological abnormalities (AHR, 2.53; 95% CI, 1.16–5.51) compared with HIV-negative women.
Conclusion. Detection of HPV infection increases rapidly within the first years after HIV seroconversion, suggesting that mucosal immune dysfunction occurring at an early stage of HIV infection may influence HPV-related diseases.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jiq083
PMCID: PMC3071227  PMID: 21216869
13.  Cervical cancer risk factors among HIV-infected Nigerian women 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:582.
Background
Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer among women worldwide, and in Nigeria it is the second most common female cancer. Cervical cancer is an AIDS-defining cancer; however, HIV only marginally increases the risk of cervical pre-cancer and cancer. In this study, we examine the risk factors for cervical pre-cancer and cancer among HIV-positive women screened for cervical cancer at two medical institutions in Abuja, Nigeria.
Methods
A total of 2,501 HIV-positive women participating in the cervical cancer screen-and-treat program in Abuja, Nigeria consented to this study and provided socio-demographic and clinical information. Log-binomial models were used to calculate relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) for the risk factors of cervical pre-cancer and cancer.
Results
There was a 6% prevalence of cervical pre-cancer and cancer in the study population of HIV-positive women. The risk of screening positivity or invasive cancer diagnosis reduced with increasing age, with women aged 40 years and older having the lowest risk (RR=0.4; 95%CI=0.2–0.7). Women with a CD4 count of 650 per mm3 or more also had lower risk of screening positivity or invasive cancer diagnosis (RR=0.3, 95%CI=0.2–0.6). Other factors such as having had 5 or more abortions (RR=1.8, 95%CI=1.0–3.6) and the presence of other vaginal wall abnormalities (RR=1.9, 95%CI=1.3–2.8) were associated with screening positivity or invasive cancer diagnosis.
Conclusion
The prevalence of screening positive lesions or cervical cancer was lower than most previous reports from Africa. HIV-positive Nigerian women were at a marginally increased risk of cervical pre-cancer and cancer. These findings highlight the need for more epidemiological studies of cervical cancer and pre-cancerous lesions among HIV-positive women in Africa and an improved understanding of incidence and risk factors.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-582
PMCID: PMC3728111  PMID: 23767681
Cervical cancer; Screen and treat; HIV; VIA/VILI
14.  Risk factors for VIA positivity and determinants of screening attendances in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:1055.
Background
Tanzania is among the countries in the world where the cervical cancer incidence is estimated to be highest. Acknowledging an increase in the burden of cervical cancer, VIA was implemented as a regional cervical cancer screening strategy in Tanzania in 2002. With the aim of describing risk factors for VIA positivity and determinants of screening attendances in Tanzania, this paper present the results from a comparative analysis performed among women who are reached and not reached by the screening program”.
Methods
14 107 women aged 25–59 enrolled in a cervical cancer screening program in Dar es Salaam in the period 2002 – 2008. The women underwent VIA examination and took part in a structured questionnaire interview. Socioeconomic characteristics, sexual behavior, HIV status and high-risk (HR) HPV infection were determined in a subpopulation of 890 who participated and 845 who did not participate in the screening.
Results
Being widowed/separated OR=1.41 (95% CI: 1.17-1.66), of high parity OR=3.19 (95% CI: 1.84-5.48) of low education OR= 4.30 (95% CI: 3.50-5.31) and married at a young age OR=2.17 (95% CI: 1.37-3.07) were associated with being VIA positive. Women who participated in the screening were more likely to be HIV positive OR= 1.59 (95% CI. 1.14-2.25) in comparison with women who had never attended screening, while no difference was found in the prevalence of HR-HPV infection among women who had attended screening and women who had not attended screening.
Conclusion
Women who are widowed/separated, of high parity, of low education and married at a young age are more likely to be VIA positive and thus at risk of developing cervical cancer. The study further documents that a referral linkage between the HIV care and treatment program and the cervical cancer screening program is in place in the setting studied, where HIV positive were more likely to participate in the cervical cancer screening program than HIV negative women.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-1055
PMCID: PMC3552680  PMID: 23216752
Cervical cancer; Screening; VIA; HPV; HIV; Tanzania
15.  Prevalence and predictors of squamous intraepithelial lesions of the cervix in HIV-infected women in Lusaka, Zambia 
Gynecologic oncology  2006;103(3):1017-1022.
Objectives
HIV-infected women living in resource-constrained nations like Zambia are now accessing antiretroviral therapy and thus may live long enough for HPV-induced cervical cancer to manifest and progress. We evaluated the prevalence and predictors of cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions (SIL) among HIV-infected women in Zambia.
Methods
We screened 150 consecutive, non-pregnant HIV-infected women accessing HIV/AIDS care services in Lusaka, Zambia. We collected cervical specimens for cytological analysis by liquid-based monolayer cytology (ThinPrep Pap Test®) and HPV typing using the Roche Linear Array® PCR assay.
Results
The median age of study participants was 36 years (range 23-49 years) and their median CD4+ count was 165/μL (range 7-942). The prevalence of SIL on cytology was 76% (114/150), of which 23.3% (35/150) women had low-grade SIL, 32.6% (49/150) had high-grade SIL, and 20% (30/150) had lesions suspicious for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). High-risk HPV types were present in 85.3% (128/150) women. On univariate analyses, age of the participant, CD4+ cell count, and presence of any high-risk HPV type were significantly associated with the presence of severely abnormal cytological lesions (i.e., high-grade SIL and lesions suspicious for SCC). Multivariable logistic regression modeling suggested the presence of any high-risk HPV type as an independent predictor of severely abnormal cytology (adjusted OR: 12.4, 95% CI 2.62-58.1, p=0.02).
Conclusions
The high prevalence of abnormal squamous cytology in our study is one of the highest reported in any population worldwide. Screening of HIV-infected women in resource-constrained settings like Zambia should be implemented to prevent development of HPV-induced SCC.
doi:10.1016/j.ygyno.2006.06.015
PMCID: PMC2748907  PMID: 16875716
HIV; Cervical Cancer; Screening; Cytology; Zambia
16.  The Association between HIV Infection, Antiretroviral Therapy and Cervical Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions in South Western Nigerian Women 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97150.
Introduction
Findings from studies that evaluated the effect of antiretroviral drug use on the development of cervical squamous intraepithelial lesion differed in their conclusions. This study investigated the association between HIV infection, antiretroviral drug use and cervical squamous intraepithelial lesion in a high HIV and cervical cancer burden setting- Nigeria.
Methods
A cross sectional study among 1140 women of known HIV status enrolled in a randomised study to determine the test characteristics of visual inspection in detecting cytology diagnosed squamous intraepithelial lesion. Multivariate analysis was used to determine the association between HIV infection, antiretroviral drug use and the twin outcome variables of cervical squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL) and High grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL) while controlling for confounders.
Results
Prevalence of cervical squamous intraepithelial lesion was 8.5%, with a higher prevalence of 14.3% in HIV positive compared to 3.3% in HIV negative women (aOR: 5.4; 95% CI: 2.9–8.8). Not using antiretroviral drugs was found to be associated with an increased risk of SIL (aOR: 2.1; 95% CI: 1.4–3.5) and HSIL (aOR: 2.6; 95% CI: 1.1–6.4). Participants who had a CD4 cell count <200 cells/mm3, were also found to be at increased risk for SIL (aOR: 1.9; 95% CI: 1.1–5.9) and HSIL (aOR: 5.7; 95% CI: 1.1–7.2).
Conclusion
HIV infection and severe immunosuppression were found to be associated with increased risk of cervical squamous intraepithelial lesion but not viral load. For the first time, in the West African sub-region with specific HIV type and strains, we established the protective effect of antiretroviral drug use against the development of SIL. Integration of cervical cancer screening programme into HIV services and early initiation of antiretroviral drug in HIV positive women especially those with severe immune-suppression could therefore prove to be useful in preventing and controlling cervical cancer development in HIV positive women.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097150
PMCID: PMC4014606  PMID: 24809726
17.  Human Papillomavirus Infection in HIV-1 Infected Women in Catalonia (Spain): Implications for Prevention of Cervical Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47755.
Background
High-risk human Papillomavirus infection is a necessary factor for cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions and invasive cervical cancer. In HIV-1-infected women, HPV infection is more prevalent and a higher risk of cervical cancer has been identified. We aimed to calculate the prevalence of infection by HR-HPV, determine the factors associated with this infection and abnormal cytology findings and to describe the history of cervical cancer screening in HIV-1-infected women.
Methods
We enrolled 479 HIV-1–infected women from the PISCIS cohort. Each patient underwent a gynecological check-up, PAP smear, HPV AND Hybrid capture, HPV genotyping, and colposcopy and biopsy, if necessary. We applied questionnaires to obtain information on sociodemographic, behavioral, clinical, and cervical screening variables. We present a cross-sectional analysis.
Results
Median age was 42 years. The prevalence of HR-HPV infection was 33.2% and that of high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL) was 3.8%. The most common genotypes were 16(23%), 53(20.3%), and 52(16.2%). The factor associated with HR-HPV infection was age <30 years (odds ratio[OR],2.5; 95%confidence interval[CI],1.1–5.6). The factors associated with the presence of HSIL or low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL) were CD4T-lymphocyte count <200cells/mm3 versus >500cells/mm3 (OR,8.4; 95%CI,3.7–19.2), HIV-1 viral load >10,000copies/mL versus <400copies/mL (OR,2.1; 95%CI,1.0–4.4), and use of oral contraceptives (OR,2.0; 95%CI,1.0–3.9). Sixty percent of HIV-1–infected women had had one Pap smear within the last 2 years.
Conclusions
The high prevalence of HPV infection and cervical lesions in the HIV-1–infected population in Catalonia, as well as the low coverage and frequency of screening in this group, means that better preventive efforts are necessary and should include vaccination against HPV, better accessibility to screening programs, training of health care professionals, and specific health education for HIV-1–infected women.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047755
PMCID: PMC3484159  PMID: 23118894
18.  The prevalence of cervical cytology abnormalities and human papillomavirus in women infected with the human immunodeficiency virus 
Infectious Agents and Cancer  2009;4(Suppl 1):S8.
Introduction
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the major etiologic agent in the development of cervical cancer and its natural history of infection is altered in persons infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The prevalence of HPV infection and cervical dysplasia in the HIV sero-positive females in the Bahamas is not known. Finding out the prevalence would allow for the establishment of protocols to optimize total care of this population and help prevent morbidity and mortality related to cervical cancer.
Objective
The Objective of this study is to determine the prevalence of high risk HPV genotypes and the prevalence of cervical dysplasia in the HIV sero-positive females attending the Infectious Disease Clinic at the Princess Margaret Hospital, Nassau, Bahamas.
Methods
One hundred consecutive, consenting, non-pregnant, HIV-sero-positive females from the Infectious Disease Clinic at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau, Bahamas were screened for high-risk HPV infections and cervical cytology abnormalities using liquid-based pap smear and signal amplification nucleic acid method for HPV detection. A questionnaire was also utilized to gather demographic information and obtain information on known risk factors associated with HPV infections such numbers of partners.
Results
The prevalence of high-risk HPV was 67% and cervical abnormalities were noted in 44% of the study population. High-risk HPV types were more likely to be present in women with CD4+ cell counts less than 400 μl-1 and in women with cervical cytology abnormalities (97%). The most common cervical abnormality was low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions.
Conclusion
Findings suggest that HIV-sero positive females should have HPV testing done as part of their normal gynecology evaluation and these patients should be encouraged and provisions be made for ease of access having regular PAP smears and HPV testing.
doi:10.1186/1750-9378-4-S1-S8
PMCID: PMC2638467  PMID: 19208213
19.  When Do HIV-Infected Women Disclose Their HIV Status to Their Male Partner and Why? A Study in a PMTCT Programme, Abidjan 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(12):e342.
Background
In Africa, women tested for HIV during antenatal care are counselled to share with their partner their HIV test result and to encourage partners to undertake HIV testing. We investigate, among women tested for HIV within a prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programme, the key moments for disclosure of their own HIV status to their partner and the impact on partner HIV testing.
Methods and Findings
Within the Ditrame Plus PMTCT project in Abidjan, 546 HIV-positive and 393 HIV-negative women were tested during pregnancy and followed-up for two years after delivery. Circumstances, frequency, and determinants of disclosure to the male partner were estimated according to HIV status. The determinants of partner HIV testing were identified according to women's HIV status. During the two-year follow-up, disclosure to the partner was reported by 96.7% of the HIV-negative women, compared to 46.2% of HIV-positive women (χ2 = 265.2, degrees of freedom [df] = 1, p < 0.001). Among HIV-infected women, privileged circumstances for disclosure were just before delivery, during early weaning (at 4 mo to prevent HIV postnatal transmission), or upon resumption of sexual activity. Formula feeding by HIV-infected women increased the probability of disclosure (adjusted odds ratio 1.54, 95% confidence interval 1.04–2.27, Wald test = 4.649, df = 1, p = 0.031), whereas household factors such as having a co-spouse or living with family reduced the probability of disclosure. The proportion of male partners tested for HIV was 23.1% among HIV-positive women and 14.8% among HIV-negative women (χ2 = 10.04, df = 1, p = 0.002). Partners of HIV-positive women who were informed of their wife's HIV status were more likely to undertake HIV testing than those not informed (37.7% versus 10.5%, χ2 = 56.36, df = 1, p < 0.001).
Conclusions
In PMTCT programmes, specific psychosocial counselling and support should be provided to women during the key moments of disclosure of HIV status to their partners (end of pregnancy, weaning, and resumption of sexual activity). This support could contribute to improving women's adherence to the advice given to prevent postnatal and sexual HIV transmission.
In a mother-to-child HIV prevention program in Côte d'Ivoire, Annabel Desgrées-du-Loû and colleagues identify three junctures at which women tend to disclose their HIV status to partners.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Since the first reported case of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) in 1981, the number of people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS, has risen steadily. By the end of 2006, nearly 40 million people were infected, 25 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa. HIV is most often spread by having unprotected sex with an infected partner. In Africa, most sexual transmission of HIV is between partners in stable relationships—many such couples do not adopt measures that prevent viral transmission, such as knowing the HIV status of both partners and using condoms if one partner is HIV-positive. HIV can also pass from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, labor, or delivery, or through breastfeeding. Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV can be reduced by giving anti-HIV drugs to the mother during pregnancy and labor and to her newborn baby, and by avoiding breastfeeding or weaning the baby early.
Why Was This Study Done?
Many African countries have programs for prevention of MTCT (PMTCT) that offer pregnant women prenatal HIV counseling and testing. As a result, women are often the first member of a stable relationship to know their HIV status. PMTCT programs advise women to disclose their HIV test result to their partner and to encourage him to have an HIV test. But for many women, particularly those who are HIV-positive, talking to their partner about HIV/AIDS is hard because of fears of rejection (which could mean loss of housing and food) or accusations of infidelity. Knowing more about when women disclose their HIV status and what makes them decide to do so would help the people running PMTCT programs to support women during the difficult process of disclosure. In this study, the researchers have investigated when and why women participating in a PMTCT research project in Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire) told their partner about their HIV status and the impact this disclosure had on their partner's uptake of HIV testing.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
At regular follow-up visits, the researchers asked women in the Abidjan PMTCT project whether they had told their partners their HIV status and whether they were breast-feeding or had resumed sexual activity. Nearly all the women who tested negative for HIV, but slightly fewer than half of the HIV-positive (infected) women had told their partner about their HIV status by two years after childbirth. Two-thirds of the HIV-positive women who disclosed their status did so before delivery. Other key times for disclosure were at early weaning (4 months after birth) for women who breast-fed their babies, and when sexual activity resumed. HIV-positive women who bottle fed their babies from birth were more likely to tell their partners of their status than women who breast-fed. Factors that prevented women disclosing their HIV status included living in a polygamous relationship or living separately from their partners. Finally, the researchers report that the partners of HIV-positive women who disclosed their HIV status were about three times more likely to take an HIV test than the partners of HIV-positive women who did not disclose.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings identify three key times when women who have had an HIV test during pregnancy are likely to disclose their HIV status to their partner. The main one is before delivery and relates, in part, to how the mother plans to feed her baby. To bottle feed in Abidjan, women need considerable support from their partners and this may be the impetus for disclosing their HIV status. Disclosure at early weaning may reflect the woman's need to enlist her partner's support for this unusual decision—the normal time for weaning in Abidjan is 17 months. Finally, disclosure when sexual activity resumes may be necessary so that the woman can explain why she wants to use condoms. Although these findings need confirmation in other settings, targeting counseling and support within PMTCT programs to these key moments might help HIV-positive women to tell their partners about their status. This, hopefully, would help to reduce sexual transmission of HIV within stable relationships in sub-Saharan Africa.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040342.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS and on HIV infection in women
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS
Women Children and HIV provides extensive information on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in developing countries
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on HIV and AIDS in Africa and on HIV and AIDS prevention
AIDSinfo, a service of the US Department of Health and Human Services provideshealth information for HIV-positive pregnant women (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040342
PMCID: PMC2100145  PMID: 18052603
20.  Impact of Round-the-Clock, Rapid Oral Fluid HIV Testing of Women in Labor in Rural India 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(5):e92.
Background
Testing pregnant women for HIV at the time of labor and delivery is the last opportunity for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) measures, particularly in settings where women do not receive adequate antenatal care. However, HIV testing and counseling of pregnant women in labor is a challenge, especially in resource-constrained settings. In India, many rural women present for delivery without any prior antenatal care. Those who do get antenatal care are not always tested for HIV, because of deficiencies in the provision of HIV testing and counseling services. In this context, we investigated the impact of introducing round-the-clock, rapid, point-of-care HIV testing and counseling in a busy labor ward at a tertiary care hospital in rural India.
Methods and Findings
After they provided written informed consent, women admitted to the labor ward of a rural teaching hospital in India were offered two rapid tests on oral fluid and finger-stick specimens (OraQuick Rapid HIV-1/HIV-2 tests, OraSure Technologies). Simultaneously, venous blood was drawn for conventional HIV ELISA testing. Western blot tests were performed for confirmatory testing if women were positive by both rapid tests and dual ELISA, or where test results were discordant. Round-the-clock (24 h, 7 d/wk) abbreviated prepartum and extended postpartum counseling sessions were offered as part of the testing strategy. HIV-positive women were administered PMTCT interventions. Of 1,252 eligible women (age range 18 y to 38 y) approached for consent over a 9 mo period in 2006, 1,222 (98%) accepted HIV testing in the labor ward. Of these, 1,003 (82%) women presented with either no reports or incomplete reports of prior HIV testing results at the time of admission to the labor ward. Of 1,222 women, 15 were diagnosed as HIV-positive (on the basis of two rapid tests, dual ELISA and Western blot), yielding a seroprevalence of 1.23% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.61%–1.8%). Of the 15 HIV test–positive women, four (27%) had presented with reported HIV status, and 11 (73%) new cases of HIV infection were detected due to rapid testing in the labor room. Thus, 11 HIV-positive women received PMTCT interventions on account of round-the-clock rapid HIV testing and counseling in the labor room. While both OraQuick tests (oral and finger-stick) were 100% specific, one false-negative result was documented (with both oral fluid and finger-stick specimens). Of the 15 HIV-infected women who delivered, 13 infants were HIV seronegative at birth and at 1 and 4 mo after delivery; two HIV-positive infants died within a month of delivery.
Conclusions
In a busy rural labor ward setting in India, we demonstrated that it is feasible to introduce a program of round-the-clock rapid HIV testing, including prepartum and extended postpartum counseling sessions. Our data suggest that the availability of round-the-clock rapid HIV testing resulted in successful documentation of HIV serostatus in a large proportion (82%) of rural women who were unaware of their HIV status when admitted to the labor room. In addition, 11 (73%) of a total of 15 HIV-positive women received PMTCT interventions because of round-the-clock rapid testing in the labor ward. These findings are relevant for PMTCT programs in developing countries.
Nitika Pant Pai and colleagues report the results of offering a round-the-clock rapid HIV testing program in a rural labor ward setting in India.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Since the first reported case of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) in 1981, the number of people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS, has risen steadily. Now, more than 33 million people are infected, almost half of them women. HIV is most often spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner, but mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV is also an important transmission route. HIV-positive women often pass the virus to their babies during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and breastfeeding, if nothing is done to prevent viral transmission. In developed countries, interventions such as voluntary testing and counseling, safe delivery practices (for example, offering cesarean delivery to HIV-positive women), and antiretroviral treatment of the mother during pregnancy and labor and of her newborn baby have minimized the risk of MTCT. In developing countries, the prevention of MTCT (PMTCT) is much less effective, in part because pregnant women often do not know their HIV status. Consequently, in 2007, nearly half a million children became infected with HIV mainly through MTCT.
Why Was This Study Done?
In many developing countries, women do not receive adequate antenatal care. In India, for example, nearly half the women living in rural areas do not receive any antenatal care until they are in labor. This gives health care providers very little time in which to counsel women about HIV infection, test them for the virus, and start interventions to prevent MTCT. Furthermore, testing pregnant women in labor for HIV and counseling them is a challenge, particularly where resources are limited. In this study, therefore, the researchers investigate the feasibility and impact of introducing round-the-clock, rapid HIV testing and counseling in a busy labor ward in a rural teaching hospital in Sevagram, India.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Women admitted to the labor ward between January and September 2006 were offered two rapid HIV tests—one that used a saliva sample and the other that used blood taken from a finger prick. Blood was also taken from a vein for conventional HIV testing. All the women were given a 15-minute counseling session about how HIV is transmitted, the importance of HIV testing, and information on PMTCT before their child was born (prepartum counseling), and a longer postpartum counseling session. HIV-positive women were given a cesarean delivery where possible and antiretroviral drug treatment to reduce MTCT. 1,222 women admitted to the labor ward during the study period (1,003 of whom did not know their HIV status) accepted HIV testing. Of 15 study participants who were HIV positive, 11 learnt of their HIV status in the labor room. Two babies born to these HIV-positive women were HIV positive and died within a month of delivery; the other 13 babies were HIV negative at birth and at 1 and 4 months after delivery. Finally, the rapid HIV tests missed only one HIV-positive woman (no false-positive results were given), and the time from enrolling a woman into the study through referring her for PMTCT intervention where necessary averaged 40–60 minutes.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show the feasibility and positive impact of the introduction of round-the-clock pre- and postpartum HIV counseling and rapid HIV testing into a busy rural Indian labor ward. Few of the women entering this ward knew their HIV status previously but the introduction of these facilities in this setting successfully informed these women of their HIV status. In addition, the round-the-clock counseling and testing led to 11 women and their babies receiving PMTCT interventions who would otherwise have been missed. These findings need to be confirmed in other settings and the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of this approach for the improvement of PMTCT in developing countries needs to be investigated. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that round-the-clock rapid HIV testing might be an effective and acceptable way to reduce MTCT of HIV in many developing countries.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050092.
Read a related PLoS Medicine Perspective article
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS and on HIV infection in women
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS
Women, Children, and HIV provides extensive information on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in developing countries
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on HIV and AIDS in India, on women, HIV, and AIDS, and on HIV and AIDS prevention, including the prevention of mother-to-child transmission
AIDSinfo, a service of the US Department of Health and Human Services provides health information for HIV-positive pregnant women (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050092
PMCID: PMC2365974  PMID: 18462011
21.  Prevalence and Predictors of Colposcopic-Histopathologically Confirmed Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia in HIV-Infected Women in India 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(1):e8634.
Background
Prevalence estimates of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) among HIV-infected women in India have been based on cervical cytology, which may have underestimated true disease burden. We sought to better establish prevalence estimates and evaluate risk factors of CIN among HIV-infected women in Pune, India using colposcopy and histopathology as diagnostic tools.
Methodology
Previously unscreened, non-pregnant HIV-infected women underwent cervical cancer screening evaluation including standardized diagnostic colposcopy by a gynecologist. Histopathologic confirmation was conducted among consenting women with clinical suspicion of CIN. The prevalence of CIN was evaluated by a composite diagnosis based on colposcopy and histopathology results. Multivariable ordinal logistic regression analysis was conducted to determine independent predictors of increasing severity of CIN.
Results
The median age of the n = 303 enrolled HIV-infected women was 30 years (interquartile range, 27–34). A majority of the participants were widowed or separated (187/303, 61.7%), more than one-third (114/302, 37.7%) were not educated beyond primary school, and nearly two-thirds (196/301, 64.7%) had a family per capita income of <1,000 Indian Rupees (∼US$22) per month. Cervical high-risk HPV-DNA was detected in 41.7% (124/297) of participants. The composite colposcopic-histopathologic diagnoses revealed no evidence of CIN in 220 out of 303 (72.6%) women, CIN1 in 33/303 (10.9%), CIN2 in 31/303 (10.2%), CIN3 in 18/303 (5.9%) and 1 (0.3%) woman was diagnosed with ICC. Thus, over a quarter of the participants [83/303: 27.7% (95% CI: 22.7–33.1)] had ≥CIN1 lesions and a sixth [50/303: 16.5% (95% CI: 12.2–21.9)] had evidence of advanced (≥CIN2) neoplastic disease. The independent predictors of increasing severity of CIN as revealed by a proportional odds model using multivariable ordinal logistic regression included (i) currently receiving antiretroviral therapy [adjusted odds ratios (aOR): 2.24 (1.17, 4.26), p = 0.01] and (ii) presence of cervical high-risk HPV-DNA [aOR: 1.93 (1.13, 3.28), p = 0.02].
Conclusions
HIV-infected women in Pune, India have a substantial burden of cervical precancerous lesions, which may progress to invasive cervical cancer unless appropriately detected and treated. Increased attention should focus on recognizing and addressing this entirely preventable cancer among HIV-infected women, especially in the context of increasing longevity due to antiretroviral therapy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008634
PMCID: PMC2798747  PMID: 20072610
22.  Cervical cancer screening among HIV-positive women 
Canadian Family Physician  2010;56(12):e425-e431.
ABSTRACT
OBJECTIVE
To determine the rate of cervical screening among HIV-positive women who received care at a tertiary care clinic, and to determine whether screening rates were influenced by having a primary care provider.
DESIGN
Retrospective chart review.
SETTING
Tertiary care outpatient clinic in Ottawa, Ont.
PARTICIPANTS
Women who were HIV-positive receiving care at the Ottawa Hospital General Campus Immunodeficiency Clinic between July 1, 2002, and June 30, 2005.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Whether patients had primary care providers and whether they received cervical screening. We recorded information on patient demographics, HIV status, primary care providers, and cervical screening, including date, results, and type of health care provider ordering the screening.
RESULTS
Fifty-eight percent (126 of 218) of the women had at least 1 cervical screening test during the 3-year period. Thirty-three percent (42 of 126) of the women who underwent cervical screening had at least 1 abnormal test result. The proportion of women who did not have any cervical tests performed was higher among women who did not have primary care providers (8 of 12 [67%] vs 84 of 206 [41%]; relative risk 1.6, 95% confidence interval 1.06 to 2.52, P < .05), although this group was small.
CONCLUSION
Despite the high proportion of abnormal cervical screening test results among HIV-positive women, screening rates remained low. Our results support our hypothesis that those women who do not have primary care providers are less likely to undergo cervical screening.
PMCID: PMC3001950  PMID: 21375064
23.  Intermittent Intravaginal Antibiotic Treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis in HIV-Uninfected and -Infected Women: A Randomized Clinical Trial 
PLoS Clinical Trials  2007;2(2):e10.
Objective:
Assess efficacy of intermittent intravaginal metronidazole gel treatment in reducing frequency of bacterial vaginosis (BV).
Design:
Randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial.
Setting:
Postnatal and family planning clinics of the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and two health centers in Blantyre, Malawi.
Participants:
Nonpregnant HIV-uninfected and -infected women.
Intervention:
Intravaginal metronidazole treatment and placebo gels provided at baseline and every 3 mo for 1 y.
Outcome measures:
Primary: Cross-sectional and longitudinal comparisons of BV frequency at baseline, 1 mo after product dispensation (post-treatment evaluation [PTE]), and every quarterly visit. Secondary: Effect of treatment on BV clearance and recurrence.
Results:
Baseline: 842 HIV-uninfected and 844 HIV-infected women were enrolled. The frequency of BV at baseline in treatment and placebo arms, respectively, was 45.9% and 46.8% among HIV-uninfected women, and 60.5% and 56.9% among HIV-infected women. Primary outcomes: At the PTEs the prevalence of BV was consistently lower in treatment than placebo arms irrespective of HIV status. The differences were statistically significant mainly in HIV-uninfected women. Prevalence of BV was also reduced over time in both treatment and placebo arms. In a multivariable analysis that controlled for other covariates, the effect of intravaginal metronidazole treatment gel compared with placebo was not substantial: adjusted relative risk (RR) 0.90, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.83–0.97 in HIV-uninfected women and adjusted RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.89–1.01 in HIV-infected women. Secondary outcomes: Intravaginal metronidazole treatment gel significantly increased BV clearance (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 1.34, 95% CI 1.07–1.67 among HIV-uninfected women and adjusted HR 1.29, 95% CI 1.06–1.58 among HIV-infected women) but was not associated with decreased BV recurrence. Safety: No serious adverse events were related to use of intravaginal gels.
Conclusion:
Intermittent microbicide treatment with intravaginal gels is an innovative approach that can reduce the frequency of vaginal infections such as BV.
Editorial Commentary
Background: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) results from a change in the normal balance of bacteria in the vaginal tract, and is very common. In pregnant women, it is associated with poorer outcomes in pregnancy, and is also linked with HIV transmission (although it is not certain that BV actually increases the chance of getting HIV—just because these two occur together it does not necessarily follow that one causes the other). BV can be treated with metronidazole tablets, although these can cause gut symptoms and should not be taken repeatedly. The researchers wanted to carry out a multiclinic–based trial to find out whether a metronidazole gel applied intermittently to the vagina (for five nights every three months) would reduce the frequency of BV among women in Malawi. HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women, recruited from postnatal and family planning clinics, were randomized to receive either metronidazole gels, or equivalent placebo gels, every three months and were then followed up for 12 months. The primary outcome for the trial was the proportion of women with BV at each quarterly follow-up visit, and the researchers intended to compare this outcome between treatment arms at each visit and also to look at the overall changes over time among women receiving either metronidazole or placebo, looking separately at HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women.
What this trial shows: In total 1,686 women took part in the trial (842 not infected with HIV, and 844 infected with HIV). The proportion of HIV-uninfected women with BV dropped by around 20% over the course of the trial, both in women using metronidazole and in those using placebo. However, when comparing the proportion of HIV-uninfected women with BV between the two arms of the trial, there did not seem to be a consistent effect: differences were statistically significant at some time points and not others. Among HIV-infected women, there was also a drop over the course of the trial in the proportion of women with BV, irrespective of whether they used metronidazole or placebo. Again, when comparing the rate of BV among HIV-infected women between study arms (metronidazole versus placebo), the researchers did not see a consistent trend; differences were statistically significant at some time points but not others. Overall, when comparing metronidazole and placebo in an analysis that controlled for other factors, the metronidazole gel seemed to show a small effect in reduction of BV among HIV-uninfected women, but no obvious effect among HIV-infected women.
Strengths and limitations: Strengths in the design of this trial include the sample size, which was appropriate to detect an important effect of the metronidazole gel (versus placebo) had one existed, and the randomization and blinding procedures, which were designed to minimize the chance that the trialists or women being enrolled could anticipate to which arm of the trial they might be assigned. A key limitation of this study, as the researchers acknowledge, is the absence of a “no treatment” study arm. The frequency of BV dropped over the course of the trial in women using the placebo gel, raising the possibility that the placebo actually has some effect on bacteria in the vagina. However, a trial with a “no treatment” arm would pose its own problems, since trialists and participants would then not be fully blinded as to their treatment status.
Contribution to the evidence: This trial adds data on the efficacy of metronidazole gel when used intermittently, and among women in the community who may or may not actually have BV. Previous studies have evaluated treatment with metronidazole among women who already have symptoms or a diagnosis of BV. The findings of this trial rule out a substantial effect of metronidazole gel, as compared to placebo gel, in reducing the frequency of BV in this setting.
doi:10.1371/journal.pctr.0020010
PMCID: PMC1851729  PMID: 17318258
24.  Incident HIV during Pregnancy and Postpartum and Risk of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(2):e1001608.
Alison Drake and colleagues conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate maternal HIV incidence during pregnancy and the postpartum period and to compare mother-to-child HIV transmission risk among women with incident versus chronic infection.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Women may have persistent risk of HIV acquisition during pregnancy and postpartum. Estimating risk of HIV during these periods is important to inform optimal prevention approaches. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate maternal HIV incidence during pregnancy/postpartum and to compare mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) risk among women with incident versus chronic infection.
Methods and Findings
We searched PubMed, Embase, and AIDS-related conference abstracts between January 1, 1980, and October 31, 2013, for articles and abstracts describing HIV acquisition during pregnancy/postpartum. The inclusion criterion was studies with data on recent HIV during pregnancy/postpartum. Random effects models were constructed to pool HIV incidence rates, cumulative HIV incidence, hazard ratios (HRs), or odds ratios (ORs) summarizing the association between pregnancy/postpartum status and HIV incidence, and MTCT risk and rates. Overall, 1,176 studies met the search criteria, of which 78 met the inclusion criterion, and 47 contributed data. Using data from 19 cohorts representing 22,803 total person-years, the pooled HIV incidence rate during pregnancy/postpartum was 3.8/100 person-years (95% CI 3.0–4.6): 4.7/100 person-years during pregnancy and 2.9/100 person-years postpartum (p = 0.18). Pooled cumulative HIV incidence was significantly higher in African than non-African countries (3.6% versus 0.3%, respectively; p<0.001). Risk of HIV was not significantly higher among pregnant (HR 1.3, 95% CI 0.5–2.1) or postpartum women (HR 1.1, 95% CI 0.6–1.6) than among non-pregnant/non-postpartum women in five studies with available data. In African cohorts, MTCT risk was significantly higher among women with incident versus chronic HIV infection in the postpartum period (OR 2.9, 95% CI 2.2–3.9) or in pregnancy/postpartum periods combined (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.2–4.4). However, the small number of studies limited power to detect associations and sources of heterogeneity.
Conclusions
Pregnancy and the postpartum period are times of persistent HIV risk, at rates similar to “high risk” cohorts. MTCT risk was elevated among women with incident infections. Detection and prevention of incident HIV in pregnancy/postpartum should be prioritized, and is critical to decrease MTCT.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Worldwide, about 3.4 million children younger than 15 years old (mostly living in sub-Saharan Africa) are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS by gradually destroying immune system cells, thereby leaving infected individuals susceptible to other serious infections. In 2012 alone, 230,000 children (more than 700 every day) were newly infected with HIV. Most HIV infections among children are the result of mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. The rate of MTCT (and deaths among HIV-positive pregnant women from complications related to HIV infection) can be greatly reduced by testing women for HIV infection during pregnancy (antenatal HIV testing), treating HIV-positive women with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs, powerful drugs that control HIV replication and allow the immune system to recover) during pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding, and giving ARVs to their newborn babies.
Why Was This Study Done?
The World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have developed a global plan that aims to move towards eliminating new HIV infections among children by 2015 and towards keeping their mothers alive. To ensure the plan's success, the incidence of HIV (the number of new infections) among women and the rate of MTCT must be reduced by increasing ARV uptake by mothers and their infants for the prevention of MTCT. However, the risk of HIV infection among pregnant women and among women who have recently given birth (postpartum women) is poorly understood because, although guidelines recommend repeat HIV testing during late pregnancy or at delivery in settings where HIV infection is common, pregnant women are often tested only once for HIV infection. The lack of retesting represents a missed opportunity to identify pregnant and postpartum women who have recently acquired HIV and to prevent MTCT by initiating ARV therapy. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic) and meta-analysis (a study that uses statistical methods to combine the results of several studies), the researchers estimate maternal HIV incidence during pregnancy and the postpartum period, and compare the risk of MTCT among women with incident (new) and chronic (long-standing) HIV infection.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 47 studies (35 undertaken in Africa) that examined recent HIV acquisition by women during pregnancy and the 12-month postpartum period. They used random effects statistical models to estimate the pooled HIV incidence rate and cumulative HIV incidence (the number of new infections per number of people at risk), and the association between pregnancy/postpartum status and HIV incidence and MTCT risk and rates. The pooled HIV incidence rate among pregnant/postpartum women estimated from 19 studies (all from sub-Saharan Africa) that reported HIV incidence rates was 3.8/100 person-years. The pooled cumulative HIV incidence was significantly higher in African countries than in non-African countries (3.6% and 0.3%, respectively; a “significant” difference is one that is unlikely to arise by chance). In the five studies that provided suitable data, the risk of HIV acquisition was similar in pregnant, postpartum, and non-pregnant/non-postpartum women. Finally, among African women, the risk of MTCT was 2.9-fold higher during the postpartum period among those who had recently acquired HIV than among those with chronic HIV infection, and 2.3-fold higher during the pregnancy/postpartum periods combined.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results suggest that women living in regions where HIV infection is common are at high risk of acquiring HIV infection during pregnancy and the postpartum period and that mothers who acquire HIV during pregnancy or postpartum are more likely to pass the infection on to their offspring than mothers with chronic HIV infections. However, the small number of studies included in this meta-analysis and the use of heterogeneous research methodologies in these studies may limit the accuracy of these findings. Nevertheless, these findings have important implications for the global plan to eliminate HIV infections in children. First, they suggest that women living in regions where HIV infection is common should be offered repeat HIV testing (using sensitive methods to enhance early detection of infection) during pregnancy and in the postpartum period to detect incident HIV infections, and should be promptly referred to HIV care and treatment. Second, they suggest that prevention of HIV transmission during pregnancy and postpartum should be prioritized, for example, by counseling women about the need to use condoms to prevent transmission during this period of their lives.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001608.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on children and HIV/AIDS and on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (in English and Spanish)
The 2013 UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report provides information about the AIDS epidemic and efforts to halt it; the 2013 UNAIDS Progress Report on the Global Plan provides information on progress towards eliminating new HIV infections among children; the UNAIDS Believe it. Do it website provides information about the campaign to support the UNAIDS global plan
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS, including stories from young people infected with HIV, are available through Avert, NAM/aidsmap, and Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001608
PMCID: PMC3934828  PMID: 24586123
25.  Adherence to the cervical cancer screening program in women living with HIV in Denmark: comparison with the general population 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:256.
Background
Women living with HIV (WLWH) are at increased risk of invasive cervical cancer (ICC). International HIV guidelines suggest cervical screening twice the first year after HIV diagnosis and thereafter annually. Adherence to the HIV cervical screening program in Denmark is unknown.
Methods
We studied women from a population-based, nationwide HIV cohort in Denmark and a cohort of age-matched females from the general population. Screening behaviour was assessed from 1999–2010. Adjusted odds ratios (OR’s) for screening attendance in the two cohorts and potential predictors of attendance to guidelines were estimated. Pathology specimens were identified from The Danish Pathology Data Bank.
Results
We followed 1143 WLWH and 17,145 controls with no prior history of ICC for 9,509 and 157,362 person-years. The first year after HIV diagnosis 2.6% of WLWH obtained the recommended two cervical cytologies. During the different calendar intervals throughout the study period between 29-46% of WLWH followed the HIV cervical screening guidelines. Adjusted OR’s of attendance to the general population screening program for WLWH aged 30, 40 and 50 years, compared to controls, were 0.69 (95% CI: 0.56-0.87), 0.67 (0.55-0.80) and 0.84 (0.61-1.15). Predictors of attendance to the HIV cervical screening program were a CD4 count > 350 cells/μL and HIV RNA < 500 copies/mL. Calendar period after 2002 and HIV RNA < 500 copies/mL predicted attendance to the general population cervical screening program.
Conclusions
The majority of WLWH do not follow the HIV guidelines for cervical screening. We support the idea of cytology as part of an annual review and integration of HIV care and cervical screening in a single clinic setting.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-256
PMCID: PMC4025560  PMID: 24885577
Cervical; Cancer; Screening; HIV; Adherence; Attendance; Guidelines

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