HPV and Cervical Cancer in HIV-Positive Women

Women who are HIV-positive have a high risk of becoming infected with human papillomavirus (HPV) and later developing cervical cancer. A five-year, $3.2 million National Cancer Institute grant will allow Howard Strickler, M.D., and Robert Burk, M.D., to use sophisticated gene sequencing techniques to study whether the risk of cervical precancer in HIV-positive women is largely due previously acquired sexually transmitted HPV that has become reactivated, which commonly happens in immune suppressed women with HIV. They will also study how the methylation of HPV DNA affects precancer risk and how the cervovaginal microbiome influences HPV methylation and cervical precancer in these women. Dr. Strickler is professor of epidemiology & population health and the Harold and Muriel Block Chair in Epidemiology & Population Health at Einstein. Dr. Burk is professor of pediatrics, of microbiology & immunology, of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health and of epidemiology & population health at Einstein and an attending physician at Montefiore Health System. (1R01CA230331-01)