Screening for cervical cancer among HIV-positive and HIV-negative women in Cameroon using simultaneous co-testing with careHPV DNA testing and visual inspection enhanced by digital cervicography: Findings of initial screening and one-year follow-up

Preetam Cholli, Leslie Bradford, Simon Manga, Kathleen Nulah, Edith Kiyang, Florence Manjuh, Geneva DeGregorio, Rebecca K Ogembo, Enow Orock, Yuxin Liu, Richard G Wamai, Lisa Kennedy Sheldon, Philimon N Gona, Zacharie Sando, Thomas Welty, Edith Welty, Javier Gordon Ogembo
Gynecologic Oncology 2018, 148 (1): 118-125

OBJECTIVE: The World Health Organization (WHO)'s cervical cancer screening guidelines for limited-resource settings recommend sequential screening followed by same-day treatment under a "screen-and-treat" approach. We aimed to (1) assess feasibility and clinical outcomes of screening HIV-positive and HIV-negative Cameroonian women by pairing visual inspection with acetic acid and Lugol's iodine enhanced by digital cervicography (VIA/VILI-DC) with careHPV, a high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) nucleic acid test designed for low-resource settings; and (2) determine persistence of HR-HPV infection after one-year follow-up to inform optimal screening, treatment, and follow-up algorithms.

METHODS: We co-tested 913 previously unscreened women aged ≥30years and applied WHO-recommended treatment for all VIA/VILI-DC-positive women. Baseline prevalence of HR-HPV and HIV were 24% and 42%, respectively.

RESULTS: On initial screen, 44 (5%) women were VIA/VILI-DC-positive, of whom 22 had HR-HPV infection, indicating 50% of women screened false-positive and would have been triaged for unnecessary same-day treatment. VIA/VILI-DC-positive women with HIV infection were three times more likely to be HR-HPV-positive than HIV-negative women (65% vs. 20%). All women positive for either VIA/VILI-DC or HR-HPV (n=245) were invited for repeat co-testing after one year, of which 136 (56%) returned for follow-up. Of 122 women who were HR-HPV-positive on initial screen, 60 (49%) re-tested negative, of whom 6 had received treatment after initial screen, indicating that 44% of initially HR-HPV-positive women spontaneously cleared infection after one year without treatment. Women with HIV were more likely to remain HR-HPV-positive on follow-up than HIV-negative women (61% vs. 22%, p<0.001). Treatment was offered to all VIA/VILI-DC positive women on initial screen, and to all women screening VIA/VILI-DC or HR-HPV positive on follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: We found careHPV co-testing with VIA/VILI-DC to be feasible and valuable in identifying false-positives, but careHPV screening-to-result time was too long to inform same-day treatment.

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