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Screening for cervical cancer in HIV-infected women and adolescents

William R Robinson, MD
Section Editor
Barbara Goff, MD
Deputy Editor
Sandy J Falk, MD, FACOG


Cervical cancer screening is important for all women [1]. The availability of screening tests allows detection of preinvasive disease, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). CIN can be treated to prevent progression to invasive cancer. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the etiology of most cervical cancers.

Screening for cervical cancer is of particular importance for women and adolescent girls infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The incidence of CIN, as confirmed by colposcopy, is four to five times higher in HIV-infected women and adolescents compared to HIV-negative women and adolescents with high-risk sexual behaviors [2-4]. CIN is common in HIV-infected women because [5-9]:

Both HIV and HPV are sexually transmitted

HIV-infected women are more likely to have persistent HPV infection

Persistent infection with one or more oncogenic HPV subtypes is a major factor in the pathogenesis of premalignant and malignant cervical disease

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 13, 2017.
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