A suppressed viral load and a high CD4 count are associated with a reduced risk of persistent cervical human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, lessening the risk of cervical cancer, aidsmap reports. Publishing their findings in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, Belgian investigators designed a prospective study of 652 HIV-positive women who received routine cervical smear tests between 2002 and 2011.

At the outset of the study, 43 percent of the women had a high-risk cervical HPV infection. After a median 103-month follow-up, about 54 additional women also became infected with a high-risk strain of the virus, resulting in a cumulative 51 percent prevalence among the cohort. Sixty-three women cleared the infection, while the virus persisted in 77 others. After conducting an analysis to rule out other factors, the researchers concluded that maintaining a suppressed viral load for more than 40 months and a CD4 count above 500 for more than 18 months was significantly associated with a lowered risk of persistent cervical HPV infection.

To read the aidsmap story, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.