STUDY: HPV Infection Increases HIV Infection Risk

“In previous studies, other sexually transmitted infections have been associated with higher risk of HIV infection. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. ‘We looked at HIV-negative men who have sex with men who were at high risk for HIV infection and who had multiple risk factors. Our results showed a strong independent association for increased risk of HIV acquisition among those men who were already infected with anal HPV,’ said the study’s lead investigator, Peter V. Chin-Hong, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine at UCSF. … ‘We think that HPV enhances susceptibility to HIV infection through two mechanisms,’ said Chin-Hong. ‘Anatomically, the virus causes anal lesions. These lesions bring blood vessels closer to the surface, and also the lesions’ skin layer is thinner and more easily shredded, which frequently causes bleeding. These disruptions of the mucosal barrier could allow easier entry for HIV.’ In addition, HPV activates the immune system. The inflammatory cells recruited to the HPV lesions — dendritic cells, macrophages, and CD4 T cells — are the immune cells most susceptible to HIV infection.” [HIV Plus Mag]