In the general population, human papillomavirus (HPV) prevalence is reportedly increased during pregnancy, and emerging evidence suggests that it may be associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Women living with HIV (WLWH) experience higher rates of both HPV infection and certain adverse pregnancy outcomes, yet there are no prior reviews of HPV infection during pregnancy in WLWH.
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of pooled and type-specific HPV prevalence and associated pregnancy outcomes among pregnant WLWH and, if available, within-study comparators of women without HIV. Subgroup analyses were performed according to polymerase chain reaction primers used and geographic location.
Ten studies describing HPV prevalence in 1594 pregnant WLWH were included. The pooled HPV prevalence in pregnant WLWH was 75.5% (95% confidence interval: 50.2 to 90.4) but ranged widely (23%–98%) between individual studies. Among studies that also assessed HPV prevalence in pregnant women without HIV, the pooled prevalence was lower at 48.1% (95% confidence interval: 27.1 to 69.8). Pregnant WLWH had 54% higher odds of being HPV positive compared with pregnant women without HIV. The most common HPV type detected in pregnant WLWH was HPV16. No studies reported pregnancy outcomes by the HPV status.
High prevalence of HPV was documented in pregnant WLWH, exceeding the prevalence among pregnant women without HIV. The limited research on this topic must be addressed with further studies to inform the use of HPV testing as a screening modality for this population as well as the role of HPV in adverse pregnancy outcomes.