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Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Jan;113(1):26-31. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e31819225cb.

The effect of highly active antiretroviral therapy on human papillomavirus clearance and cervical cytology.

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  • 1CONRAD, Arlington, Virginia, USA.



To examine the association of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) with human papillomavirus (HPV) clearance and progression or regression of cervical cytological abnormalities in women with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).


Five hundred thirty-seven women with HIV participating in the HIV Epidemiology Research Study, an observational, multisite cohort study, were evaluated semiannually from 1996 to 2000. Cervical Pap tests were collected for cervical cytology. Testing for HPV was conducted by polymerase chain reaction. Cox proportional hazard models were used to calculate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Number needed to treat (NNT) at 2 years was calculated for HAART.


Among women with cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions, HAART was associated with an increased likelihood of HPV clearance (hazard ratio 4.5, 95% CI 1.2-16.3, NNT 22.4). Use of HAART was not associated with an increased likelihood of HPV clearance among women with normal cervical cytology (hazard ratio 1.7, 95% CI 0.9-3.1, NNT 6.5) or atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance cytology (hazard ratio 1.0, 95% CI 0.4-2.5, NNT 174.0). Use of HAART was not significantly associated with an increased likelihood of cervical cytologic regression (hazard ratio 1.3, 95% CI 1.0-1.7, NNT 10.9) or cervical cytologic progression (hazard ratio 0.7, 95% CI 0.6-1.0, NNT 12.8).


Among women with preexisting abnormal cervical cytology, HAART was associated with enhanced HPV clearance but not with Pap test regression. Close monitoring of women with HIV for cervical cytologic abnormalities, regardless of HAART treatment status, is warranted.



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