HIV-positive women may benefit from the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, especially the more than 45 percent of sexually active young women who have not been exposed to the higher-risk forms of HPV, according to a new study from the National Institutes of Health, published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. As reported in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, the study concluded that even among women who have tested positive for one form of HPV, the vaccine may still prevent other forms that can cause cancer.

After giving 99 HIV-positive women between 16 and 23 years old an initial HPV vaccine, the study’s authors tested them for 41 of the over 100 types of HPV. They found that 75 percent of the study participants had at least one form of HPV infection and that 54 percent had a high-risk type. However, among the two forms of HPV that cause 70 percent of cervical cancers, HPV-16 and HPV-18, only a respective 12 and 5 percent of the study group had an existing infection or showed signs of exposure. Because HIV can make women more likely to develop cervical cancer or other hard-to-treat cancers as a result of these two types of HPV, the study’s authors recommend HPV vaccines for HIV-positive women, as well as cervical cancer screening.

To read the Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News article, click here.

To read the NIH release, click here.