Women living with HIV (WLWH) experience higher rates of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and cervical cancer than women without HIV. Changes in the vaginal microbiome have been implicated in HPV-related disease processes such as persistence of high-risk HPV infection but this has not been well defined in a population living with HIV.
Four hundred and 20 girls and WLWH, age ≥9, across 14 clinical sites in Canada were enrolled to receive three doses of quadrivalent HPV vaccine for assessment of vaccine immunogenicity. Blood, cervical cytology, and cervico-vaginal swabs were collected. Cervico-vaginal samples were tested for HPV DNA and underwent microbiota sequencing.
Principal component analysis (PCA) and hierarchical clustering generated community state types (CSTs). Relationships between taxa and CSTs with HPV infection were examined using mixed-effects logistic regressions, Poisson regressions, or generalized linear mixed-effects models, as appropriate. Three hundred and fifty-six cervico-vaginal microbiota samples from 172 women were sequenced. Human papillomavirus DNA was detected in 211 (59%) samples; 110 (31%) contained oncogenic HPV. Sixty-five samples (18%) were taken concurrently with incident oncogenic HPV infection and 56 (16%) were collected from women with concurrent persistent oncogenic HPV infection.
No significant associations between taxa, CST, or microbial diversity and HPV-related outcomes were found. However, we observed weak associations between a dysbiotic microbiome and specific species, including Gardnerella, Porphyromonas, and Prevotella species, with incident HPV infection.