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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

The impact of antiretroviral therapy on HPV and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia: current evidence and directions for future research

Lara F Bratcher1 and Vikrant V Sahasrabuddhe2*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute for Global Health, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, USA

2 Institute for Global Health and Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, USA

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Infectious Agents and Cancer 2010, 5:8  doi:10.1186/1750-9378-5-8

Published: 12 May 2010

Abstract

Increasing numbers of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected women are now accessing life-prolonging highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in developing countries. There is a need for better understanding of interactions of human papillomavirus (HPV) and HIV, especially in the context of increasing life expectancy due to HAART. The data regarding the impact of HAART on reducing the incidence and progression and facilitating the regression of HPV infection and cervical abnormalities is largely inconsistent. Published studies differ in their study designs (prospective or retrospective cohorts or record linkage studies), screening and diagnostic protocols, duration and type of HAART use, recruitment and referral strategies, and definitions of screening test and disease positivity. Due to the ethical and resource limitations in conducting randomized trials of the impact of HAART on incidence of HPV, CIN, and cervical cancer among HIV-infected women, it is important to consider innovative study designs, including quasi-experimental trials and operations research in sentinel populations to answer the critical research questions in this area.