Screening and prevention of HPV-related anogenital cancers in women living with HIV in Europe: Results from a systematic review



Women living with HIV (WLWH) are at increased risk of human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers. Throughout Europe, there is great heterogeneity among guidelines for screening programmes, access to HPV testing and HPV vaccination. The aim of this systematic review is to summarize available data on screening and prevention measures for HPV-related anogenital cancers in WLWH across the WHO European Region (WER).


The systematic review followed the PRISMA guidelines and was registered on Prospero. PubMed, Embase and Web of Science databases were searched to identify available studies, written in English and published between 2011 and 2022. A metanalysis was conducted using random-effects models to calculate pooled prevalence of HPV. Subgroup analyses were conducted according to country and HPV testing.


Thirty-four articles involving 10 336 WLWH met the inclusion criteria. Studies were heterogenous in their methodology and presentation of results: 73.5% of studies focused on cervical cancer prevention, and only 4.4% on anal cancer; 76.5% of studies conducted HPV testing as a routine part of screening. The prevalence of high-risk HPV was 30.5–33.9% depending on the detection method used. A total of 77% of WLWH had cervical cytology results reported. Six studies reported the positive association of CD4 cell count <200 cells/μL with HPV prevalence and cervical abnormalities. Anal HPV testing was conducted in <8% of participants. HPV vaccination was completed in 5.6% of women (106/1902) with known vaccination status. There was no information about the vaccination status of the majority of women in the analysed studies (8434/10336).


Data about screening of HPV-related anogenital cancer in WLWH in Europe are heterogenous and lacking, especially in relation to anal cancer. HPV DNA testing is not routinely done as part of screening for HPV-related cancer; guidelines should include indications for when to use this test. Low CD4 count is a risk factor for HPV infection and cytological abnormalities. HPV vaccination data are poor and, when available, vaccination rates are very low among WLWH in Europe. This review concludes that significant improvements are required for data and also consistency on guidelines for HPV screening, prevention and vaccination in WLWH.


Krankowska D, Mazzitelli M, Ucak HA, Orviz E, Karakoc HN, Mortimer H, Aebi-Popp K, Gilleece Y




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • Women
    • General HIV+ population
  • Testing
    • Testing
  • Co-infections
    • Other
  • Co-morbidities
    • Cancer


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