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J Obstet Gynaecol. 2005 Oct;25(7):706-10.

Invasive cervical cancer and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

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Gynaecology Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, South Africa.


The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can be expected to influence the course of disease and response to treatment of invasive carcinoma of the cervix. The extent and nature of this influence, however remains largely unknown. We therefore undertook a retrospective analysis of patients with carcinoma of the cervix at a tertiary referral centre in an African setting where HIV prevalence is high. There were 271 patients seen during a period of 1 year. Of these, 45 of the 206 tested were HIV infected (21.8%). The corresponding HIV prevalence for antenatal attendees was 38.7% in the region. The HIV-infected patients had lower mean haemoglobin levels and body mass indices than the HIV-non-infected women and were on average 13 years younger (p < 0.001), but otherwise did not differ with respect to demographics or disease parameters. They were, however, less likely to complete planned treatment. CD4 counts were below 200 in only 6 (21%) of 29 women tested. HIV-infected women in the African setting present with carcinoma of the cervix at a younger age, but the same disease stage as HIV-non-infected women, and without evidence of advanced immunocompromise. Circumstantial evidence is put forward by the study to suggest a more rapid decline in health and earlier demise for HIV-infected women with carcinoma of the cervix.

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