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Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is strongly associated with the development of cervical cancer, and has also been identified in other anogenital cancers such as penile, oral, and anal cancers. In regions like Sub Saharan Africa where the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is high, increased rates of HPV infections have also been observed, however the effect of HIV/AIDS on the transmission of HPV is not yet well understood. In this study specimens for HIV, HPV testing and pathology were collected from male participants and their female partners at a Urology department in Lusaka University Teaching Hospital, Zambia. Seventy four samples were collected but only thirty four (46%) yielded DNA for HPV testing. HPV detection was done with GP5+/GP6+ PCR, followed by DNA sequencing; and HIV detection was done by serology. HPV 16 specific primers were used for L1 and LCR variants identification. RESULTS: The overall HIV Prevalence was 78.6%, and HPV prevalence among the HIV positive was 68% compared to 30% amongst the HIV negative participants. HPV genotype concordance was observed in 7(43.8%) couples tested for HPV, and amongst these only 6 had sequence similarity.HIV concordance among these HPV concordant couples was 67%.However, the role of HIV on HPV type concordance could not be established due to small sample size. Variants of HPV 16 in L1 and LCR region were identified. Six novel HPV 16 variants with nucleotide exchanges in the LCR region were identified. Five were classified as the HPV 16 variant European group, and one as the African group. Two of these variants had relatively lower promoter activity, 30% of that of the wild type strain. The decreased promoter activity of some HPV 16 variants decreases expression of viral oncogenes and may be linked with the development, phenotype and prognosis of the cervical lesions in women infected with these kinds of HPV 16 variants.
Advisor: Peter C. Angeletti