An update from our HPV Research Projects Manager

In a study of the HPV vaccine in HIV positive women, researchers have found that about half the women in the study have cancer causing types of HPV and those with multiple cancer causing types were more likely to have cervical dysplasia (pre-cancerous cells).

Investigators for the HPV in HIV study (A Study of an HPV VLP Vaccine in a Cohort of HIV Positive Girls and Women) have passed the half way mark towards their recruitment goal of 500 girls and women. The somewhat 25+ investigators for the study are starting to find some very interesting preliminary results with regards to the patterns and types of human papillomavirus (HPV) infections in a group of HIV positive women. Data was available for women with a median age of 37 years, had been HIV positive for between 4 and 12 years, and had CD4 immune cell levels of between 338 and 600 cells/mm3. HPV infections were found in almost all of the women with most of the women with the infection displaying more than 1 different type of HPV. The most frequent types of HPV were types 16, 44, 53, 56, 61, 62, 66, 70 and 84. Cancer causing types of HPV were found in about half of the women tested. Women with more types of HPV and with cancer related types were more likely to have cervical dysplasia (pre-cancerous cells). Overall, among this group of older HIV positive women with generally good immune function, high rates of HPV infection with low rates of advanced cervical dysplasia were found. The study team is planning an in-depth mid way analysis of the data in the next couple of months. This will allow them to begin planning a long term follow up study to determine how long the vaccine protects against HPV in this population and if/when a booster shot may be needed. Additionally, this analysis will help to plan a similar study in parts of Africa where HIV is prevalent and where there are little to no cervical cancer screening programs.

Link to preliminary findings presented at the Canadian Conference on HIV/AIDS Research 2010 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan:

Patterns of HPV infection among a cohort of HIV positive:

Cervical Dysplasia associated with presence and number of HPV types among a cohort of HIV positive Women:

Link to ventures into Africa:

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