Screening, prevalence, and risk factors for cervical lesions among HIV positive and HIV negative women in Swaziland
BACKGROUND Squamous intraepithelial lesions (SILs) of the cervix are associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, but multiple risk factors must be considered in this context. The authors performed a cross-sectional study to assess the prevalence of and the factors associated with SILs and invasive cervical carcinoma (ICC). METHODS In Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, women were recruited from three outpatient gynecology clinics and screened for both cervical disease and HIV infection. A CD4 cell count was performed for HIV-infected women. RESULTS A total of 2198 women were included in the study. The prevalence of HIV infection was 21.7%. Of the 2170 women who underwent a cervical screening, 254 (11.7%) presented with a dysplasia or neoplasia: 7.6% had low grade SILs (LSILs), 3.3% had high grade SILs (HSILs), and 0.8% had ICCs. In multivariate analyses, factors associated with these lesions were as follows: for LSILs, HIV-1 seropositivity, age <24 years, parity >1, consultation for genital infection, and no use of oral contraception in the past; for HSILs, HIV-1 seropositivity, chewing tobacco use, low educational level, and parity >1; and for ICCs, age >33 years, parity >3, and illiteracy. In women infected with HIV-1, the prevalence of LSILs increased with a decrease in CD4 cell count, whereas this relation was not found among patients with HSILs. ICCs were linked to HIV-2 infection, but not to HIV-1 infection, in univariate analysis. CONCLUSIONS In Africa, the prevalence of SILs is high. The factors associated with precancerous and cancerous lesions are different. Cancers in women infected with HIV-1 often may not reach the invasive stage. These findings could have implications for cervical screening programs in the future.