What is the role of HIV in the pathophysiology of cervical cancer?

Updated: Feb 12, 2019
  • Author: Cecelia H Boardman, MD; Chief Editor: Warner K Huh, MD  more...
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The role of HIV infection in the pathogenesis of cervical cancer is not fully understood. However, HIV infection is known to suppress the already low level of immune recognition of HPV infection, allowing HPV to cause more damage than it would in immunocompetent women.

Cervical cancer is at least 5 times more common in HIV-infected women, and this increased prevalence has remained essentially unchanged with the use of highly active antiretroviral therapy. [34] Studies have shown a higher prevalence of HPV infection in HIV-seropositive women than in seronegative women, and the HPV prevalence was directly proportional to the severity of immunosuppression as measured by CD4+ T-cell counts.

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