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HIV-positive women should undergo regular HPV screenings

Category: Female Specific Tests

Guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force state that women who have received positive blood test results for HIV should get Pap smears every six months during their first year of diagnosis and, if those appear normal, annually thereafter. But a team of scientists from Albert Einstein College of Medicine suggest that a human papillomavirus (HPV) test may reduce the number of screenings these women require.

Authors of the study report that instances of cervical cancer or precancerous cells are rare in individuals who don't have HPV, which suggests that a simple lab test for the common sexually-transmitted virus could identify HIV patients who are most at risk of developing cervical cancer.

"It is widely thought that before cervical precancer or cervical cancer can develop, there must be persistent infection by a cancer-associated HPV, as well as the accumulation of additional genetic changes over time," said senior author Howard Strickler, M.D., M.P.H.

The researchers reached their conclusions by analyzing the data of 420 women with HIV and 279 women without the virus, all of whom were part of the large-scale Women's Interagency HIV Study.ADNFCR-2248-ID-800824029-ADNFCR

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