Open Access Open Badges Research article

Human papillomavirus detection in women with and without human immunodeficiency virus infection in Colombia

Milena Camargo12, Sara C Soto-De Leon12, Marina Munoz12, Ricardo Sanchez13, Diego Peña-Herrera4, Andrea Clemencia Pineda-Peña5, Otto Sussmann6, Carol Paez6, Antonio Perez-Prados7, Manuel Elkin Patarroyo13 and Manuel Alfonso Patarroyo12*

Author Affiliations

1 Fundación Instituto de Inmunología de Colombia, Cra. 50 # 26-20, Bogotá, Colombia

2 School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universidad del Rosario, Calle 14 # 6 – 25, Bogotá, Colombia

3 Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Avenida Carrera 30 # 45, Bogotá, Colombia

4 Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA, USA

5 Faculty of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, Universidad del Rosario, Calle 14 # 6 – 25, Bogotá, Colombia

6 Asistencia Científica de Alta Complejidad S.A.S., Calle 45B # 24-25, Bogotá, Colombia

7 Universidad Pública de Navarra, 31006 Pamplona, Spain

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:451  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-451

Published: 18 June 2014



HIV infection leads to a decreasing immune response, thereby facilitating the appearance of other infections, one of the most important ones being HPV. However, studies are needed for determining associations between immunodeficiency caused by HIV and/or the presence of HPV during the course of cervical lesions and their degree of malignancy. This study describes the cytological findings revealed by the Papanicolaou test, laboratory characteristics and HPV molecular profile in women with and without HIV infection.


A total of 216 HIV-positive and 1,159 HIV-negative women were invited to participate in the study; PCR was used for the molecular detection of HPV in cervical samples. Statistical analysis (such as percentages, Chi-square test and Fisher’s exact test when applicable) determined human papillomavirus (HPV) infection frequency (single and multiple) and the distribution of six types of high-risk-HPV in women with and without HIV infection. Likewise, a logistic regression model was run to evaluate the relationship between HIV-HPV infection and different risk factors.


An association was found between the frequency of HPV infection and infection involving 2 or more HPV types (also known as multiple HPV infection) in HIV-positive women (69.0% and 54.2%, respectively); such frequency was greater than that found in HIV-negative women (44.3% and 22.7%, respectively). Statistically significant differences were observed between both groups (p = 0.001) regarding HPV presence (both in infection and multiple HPV infection). HPV-16 was the most prevalent type in the population being studied (p = 0.001); other viral types had variable distribution in both groups (HIV-positive and HIV-negative). HPV detection was associated with <500 cell/mm3 CD4-count (p = 0.004) and higher HIV-viral-load (p = 0.001). HPV-DNA detection, <200 cell/mm3 CD4-count (p = 0.001), and higher HIV-viral-load (p = 0.001) were associated with abnormal cytological findings.


The HIV-1 positive population in this study had high multiple HPV infection prevalence. The results for this population group also suggested a greater association between HPV-DNA presence and cytological findings. HPV detection, together with low CD4 count, could represent useful tools for identifying HIV-positive women at risk of developing cervical lesions.

Human papillomavirus; Human immunodeficiency virus; Multiple infection; Papanicolaou test; Epidemiology