A University of California, Riverside scientists along with an international team of researchers have identified the individual HPV viruses that are tied to HIV infection.
According to the study, a person with a particular type of HPV, more than one type of HPV or has high-risk HPV could be diagnosed with HIV. The types of HPV tied to HIV include HPV16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 52, 58.
HIV researcher and the study’s lead author Brandon Brown said many studies show a basic link between the two, and that the study’s findings highlight a powerful relationship between HIV infection and the individual HPV types.
He said some HPV types are tied to warts whereas others are tied to cancer, highlighting the need for an HPV vaccine for men who engage in sexual behavior with other men or trans-women. It’s not just for HPV prevention but also HIV prevention.
According to Brown, other research shows HPV was tied to HIV infection, but they looked at the infection of 37 HPV types and noted that certain individual types of HPV were linked to HIV infection.
The study involved 600 participants found at a local community-based health center, volleyball courts, clubs, bars and social media in Lima, Peru. Researchers divided the participants into two groups - one without genital warts and the other with warts. They followed participants for two years to see who was diagnosed with HIV. 571 participants were visited, and the researchers found that 73 of them had gotten HIV in that time.
Brown has worked in Peru for over 10 years, carrying out preliminary work on an HPV vaccine. For previous work of female sex workers, he noted that the HPV vaccine gave high-risk groups protection.
Brown said working with the community-based organization allowed them to learn that many clients had genital warts and HIV. He said they worked with community organizations to come up with the study to find the correlation between the two diseases.
The researcher went on to say that the study in Peru is not irrelevant because it took place there. Rather, it was the community’s interest and connections that allowed them to conduct the study. He said the study would also apply to the U.S.
Brown said an HPV vaccine is needed for everybody – no matter the gender, sex or sexual orientation before sexual activity occurs and genital wart treatment. He said the medical community understands that HPV is a common STI and a vaccine for HPV could prevent an HPV infection.