Relationship between cervical cancer and HIV infection – Heilpraxis

Viral infection increases risk of cervical cancer

Cervical cancer (cervical cancer) is one of the most common cancers in women. Human papillomavirus (HPV) are the greatest risk factor for the development of precancerous lesions and cancer of the cervix. But this risk is also enormously increased with another virus infection.

According to experts, the human papillomavirus (HPV) is the greatest risk factor for cervical cancer. According to experts, further infections in the genital area with other sexually transmitted pathogens, many pregnancies and births, hormonal contraceptives and smoking can increase the risk of this type of cancer. And researchers are now reporting that HIV infection is associated with a six times higher risk of cervical cancer.

Increased risk of HIV infection

According to a recent Message A research team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) quantified the effects of an infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) on the development of cervical cancer and found that women infected with HIV have a six times higher risk of developing cervical cancer get sick. The regions of South and East Africa are particularly affected.

Fourth most common cancer in women

According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women. In 2018, an estimated 570,000 women worldwide were diagnosed with so-called cervical cancer, and around 311,000 women died from the disease.

But cervical cancer, which is mostly caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), is also one of the most successfully preventable and treatable types of cancer, provided that it is detected early and treated effectively.

Cervical cancer is also the most commonly discovered cancer in women living with HIV because their immune systems are weakened by the HIV infection.

The Center for Global Health of the Faculty of Medicine and the Chair of Epidemiology of the Faculty of Sports and Health Sciences have published “Estimates of the Global Burden of Cervical Cancer Associated with HIV” in the journal “The Lancet Global Health“Now dedicated to this relevant topic.

Meta-analysis of a total of 24 studies

First author Dr. Dominik Stelzle (Center for Global Health and Chair of Epidemiology) and first author Dr. Luana Tanaka (Chair of Epidemiology) carried out a systematic review and a meta-analysis of a total of 24 studies from 1981 to 2016 in which 236,127 women with HIV from four continents (Africa, North America, Asia and Europe) took part.

These studies included a total of 2,138 cervical cancer cases. In addition, the results were combined with data from UNAIDS on worldwide HIV infection and with data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer research center of the WHO, on cervical cancer and evaluated.

“So far there have only been estimates from countries with a high net income,” explains Dr. Stilt. “That was why we looked at the global cervical cancer-related burden figures for HIV infection, including estimates for countries with low net incomes. In most parts of the world, these numbers are below five percent. In some countries, however, we are talking about well over 40 percent of the cases. “

Risk factor for infection with HPV

According to the information, the aim of the study was to calculate the proportion of women living with HIV among women with cervical cancer. The authors found that 5.8 percent of all new cervical cancer cases worldwide in 2018 were diagnosed in women with HIV infection. That corresponds to 33,000 cases per year, 85 percent of which occur in sub-Saharan Africa.

On the basis of the results, the research team was also able to show that women with HIV are six times more likely to develop cervical cancer than women without HIV infection.

“The association between cervical cancer and HIV is obvious,” says Prof. Dr. Dr. Andrea S. Winkler, Co-Head of the Center for Global Health. “Cervical carcinomas are mostly caused by infections with human papillomavirus (HPV), which, like HIV, are sexually transmitted. Based on our results, one could assume that infection with HIV is a risk factor for infection with HPV. “

HPV vaccinations and early screenings

The regions of South and East Africa, where 63.8 percent (South Africa) and 27.4 percent (East Africa) of cervical cancers were diagnosed in women with HIV infection, are hardest hit.

“At over 75 percent, Eswatini is the country in southern Africa with the highest proportion of women suffering from cervical cancer associated with an HIV infection, followed by Lesotho with 69 percent, Botswana with 67 percent, South Africa with 64 percent and Zimbabwe with 52 percent, ”explains Dr. Tanaka.

Based on the results, the study authors determined that women with HIV infection have a significantly higher risk of developing cervical cancer. Therefore, HPV vaccinations and early cervical cancer screenings are of great importance, especially for the African countries south of the Sahara.

“In Africa there are already cervical cancer screenings, but so far mainly for women who have a higher socio-economic status and can therefore afford it financially,” says Prof. Dr. Stefanie Klug, holder of the chair for epidemiology at the Technical University of Munich.

“The aim must be to break this dependency on economic possibilities and to achieve that the HPV vaccination for girls and the screening for women are free of charge,” said the scientist. (ad)

Author and source information

This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.


  • Technical University of Munich (TUM): Study shows connection between cervical cancer and HIV infection, (accessed: December 22, 2020), Technical University of Munich (TUM)
  • Dominik Stelzle, Luana F. Tanaka, Kuan Ken Lee, Ahmadaye Ibrahim Khalil, Iacopo Baussano, Anoop S. V. Shah, David A. McAllister, Sami L. Gottlieb, Stefanie J. Klug, Andrea S. Winkler, Freddie Bray, Rachel Baggaley, Gary M. Clifford, Nathalie Broutet, Shona Dalal: Estimates of the global burden of cervical cancer associated with HIV; in: The Lancet Global Health, (veröffentlicht: 20.11.2020), The Lancet Global Health

Important NOTE:
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.


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