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A Study of Pap Smears in HIV-Positive and HIV-Negative Women from a Tertiary Care Center in South India

  • Gupta, Kritika
  • Philipose, Cheryl Sarah
  • Rai, Sharada
  • Ramapuram, John
  • Kaur, Gagandeep
  • Kini, Hema
  • GV, Chaithra
  • Adiga, Deepa
Published Article
Acta Cytologica
S. Karger AG
Publication Date
Feb 05, 2019
DOI: 10.1159/000496211
PMID: 30721904
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Objectives: The aim of this work was to study the spectrum of epithelial abnormalities on Pap smears of HIV-positive women categorized as per the Bethesda System of Reporting Cervical Cytology, to correlate them with CD4 lymphocyte counts, and to compare them with the spectrum of abnormalities seen in a HIV-negative control group. Study Design and Methodology: The present study was a 6-year retrospective study conducted in the Department of Pathology at Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore, which included 150 Pap smears from HIV-positive and HIV-negative women, respectively. The Pap-stained slides of the cases were retrieved and studied. The data collected were tabulated and analyzed. A statistical study was performed using SPSS software. The χ2 test was used to analyze the data and a p value < 0.05 was considered to be significant. Results: Pap smear abnormalities were twice as high in HIV-infected women (12%) as compared with HIV-negative women (6%; p = 0.006, RR = 2). Negative for intraepithelial lesion/malignancy was the most common finding (88%), which was further subdivided into inflammatory, atrophic smear, non-specific, candidiasis, and bacterial vaginitis groups. The percentage of epithelial abnormalities was 12%, including: atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance, 5.55%; atypical squamous cells, cannot exclude HSIL, 16.66%; low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion, 5.55%; high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL), 61.11%, and squamous cell carcinoma, 11.11%. The highest incidence of intraepithelial lesions in HIV-positive females was in the age group of 34–49 years. CD4 cell counts fell in the range of 200–500 cells/mm3 in most of the HIV-positive patients (68.75%), but was not found to be statistically significant. Conclusion: Routine Pap smear examination is advocated in women with HIV as the prevalence of epithelial cell abnormalities was found to be 12%, which was twice as high as compared to the HIV-negative control group. Although there was no correlation of epithelial cell abnormalities with CD4 counts, a higher rate of the cases with epithelial abnormalities were observed to have CD4 cell counts of 200–500 cells/mm3.

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