Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected women
are at risk for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and cancer due to impaired immunosurveillance over human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Life stress has been implicated in immune decrements in HIV-infected individuals and therefore may contribute to CIN progression over time. The purpose of this study was to determine whether life stress was associated with progression and/or persistence of squamous intraepithelial lesions (SIL), the cytologic diagnosis conferred by Papanicolaou smear, after 1-year follow-up among women
co-infected with HIV and HPV.
Thirty-two HIV-infected African-American and Caribbean-American women
underwent a psychosocial interview, blood draw, colposcopy, and HPV cervical swab at study entry. Using medical chart review, we then abstracted SIL diagnoses at study entry and after 1-year follow-up.
Hierarchical logistic regression analysis revealed that higher life stress increased the odds of developing progressive/persistent SIL over 1 year by approximately seven-fold after covarying relevant biological and behavioral control variables.
These findings suggest that life stress may constitute an independent risk factor for SIL progression and/or persistence in HIV-infected women. Stress management interventions may decrease risk for SIL progression/persistence in women
living with HIV.