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Atypical squamous cells, cannot exclude high grade squamous intraepithelial (ASC-H) in HIV-positive women

Medknow Publications
Publication Date
DOI: 10.4103/1742-6413.64376
  • Original Article
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Objective: South Africa has very high rates of both HIV infection and cervical pathology. The management of ASC-H is colposcopy and directed biopsy, but with so many women diagnosed with HSIL and a dearth of colposcopy centres in South Africa, women with cytologic diagnosis of ASC-H may not be prioritized for colposcopy. The aim of this study was to determine if HIV-positive women with a cytologic diagnosis of ASC-H should undergo immediate colposcopy or whether colposcopy can be delayed, within the context of an underfunded health care setting with so many competing health needs. Materials and Methods: A computer database search was performed from the archives of an NGO-administered clinic that offers comprehensive HIV care. All women with a cytologic diagnosis of ASC-H on cervical smears from September 2005 until August 2009 were identified. Histologic follow up was sought in all patients. Results: A total of 2111 cervical smears were performed and 41 diagnosed as ASC-H (1.94%). No histologic follow up data was available in 15 cases. Follow up histologic results were as follows: three negative (11.5%), five koilocytosis and/ or CIN1 (19.2%), ten CIN2 (38.5%) and eight CIN3 (30.8%). There were no cases of invasive carcinoma on follow up. Conclusion: The current appropriate management of HIV-positive women in low-resource settings with a diagnosis of ASC-H on cervical smear is colposcopy, despite the costs involved. In the future and if cost-effective in developing nations, use of novel markers may help select which HIV-positive women can be managed conservatively and which ones referred for more active treatment. More research in this regard is warranted.

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