A new International Journal of Cancer study indicates that rates of invasive cervical cancer (ICC) are particularly high in women living with HIV in South Africa or Latin America.
For the study, researchers compared ICC rates in 45 countries across Europe, South Africa, Latin, and North America among women living with HIV who initiated antiretroviral therapy between 1996 and 2014, through a collaboration between global HIV cohort research networks.
Among 64,231 women in the analysis, 356 incident ICC cases were diagnosed (164 in Europe, 156 in South Africa, 19 in North America, and 17 in Latin America).
Compared with rates in European women, ICC rates at 5 years after initiating antiretroviral therapy were more than double in Latin America and 11-times higher in South Africa, but similar in North America.
The investigators noted that improving access to early antiretroviral treatment and effective cervical cancer screening in women living with HIV should be key parts of global efforts to reduce cancer-related health inequities.
“Cervical cancer is a preventable disease, but many women living with HIV, especially in Latin America and South Africa, are still being diagnosed with this potentially deadly cancer,” said corresponding author Dr. Eliane Rohner, of the University of Bern, in Switzerland, representing the International epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) Southern Africa collaboration.
“We need to improve access to effective cervical cancer screening and treatment for women living with HIV globally,” said Rohner.