Original Research

Cervical human papillomavirus prevalence, risk factors and outcomes in a cohort of HIV-infected women in Harare, Zimbabwe

Ardele M. Mandiriri, Margaret J. Pascoe, Tinei Shamu, Sara Lowe
Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine | Vol 21, No 1 | a1123 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhivmed.v21i1.1123 | © 2020 Ardele M. Mandiriri, Margaret J. Pascoe, Tinei Shamu, Sara Lowe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 July 2020 | Published: 05 November 2020

About the author(s)

Ardele M. Mandiriri, Newlands Clinic, Harare, Zimbabwe; and, Department of Epidemiology, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom
Margaret J. Pascoe, Newlands Clinic, Harare, Zimbabwe
Tinei Shamu, Newlands Clinic, Harare, Zimbabwe; and, Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
Sara Lowe, Newlands Clinic, Harare, Zimbabwe; and, Department of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe


Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) associated invasive cervical cancer (ICC) is common in Zimbabwe, disproportionately affecting women living with HIV (WLHIV). Understanding high-risk HPV (hrHPV) infection in relation to cervical disease is important for ICC prevention amongst WLHIV.

Objectives: To describe the prevalence of cervical hrHPV, type distribution, associated risk factors and ICC screening outcomes in an urban cohort of Zimbabwean women.

Methods: In this cohort study, WLHIV were tested for hrHPV infection using the Cepheid Xpert® HPV assay and followed up for incident cervical disease. Follow-up assessments were done by visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA). Descriptive statistics and logistic regression were used to describe hrHPV burden and association between hrHPV and potential risk factors. Incidence rates (IR) and rate ratios of cervical disease by hrHPV infection status were also calculated.

Results: Amongst 321 WLHIV recruited, hrHPV prevalence was 24.9% (n = 80). Fifty-two of these women (65%) were positive for hrHPV types other than 16 or 18/45. Younger age (22–29 years), early sexual debut (13–16 years) and antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimen (second-line ART) were independently associated with hrHPV positivity. Positive VIA IR ratio between hrHPV-positive and -negative women was 12.57 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 4.14–38.19). Only women with hrHPV infection had incident cervical disease (IR: 6.41/100 person-years, (95% CI: 3.33–12.32). There were no ICC cases by the end of the 2-year follow-up.

Conclusion: There was a high prevalence of hrHPV infection other than 16 and 18/45 in this cohort. Integrating HPV testing in cervical cancer screening programmes may increase screening intervals in hrHPV-negative women, reducing costs for programmes. We recommend further research into cross protectivity of the bivalent and quadrivalent HPV vaccines against these other hrHPV types.


cervical cancer screening; HPV infection in WLHIV; hrHPV prevalence; visual inspection with acetic acid; HPV vaccine cross protection


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