A pilot study to compare HIV status, cervical and penile pathology among couples attending the urology unit at the University Teaching Hospital Lusaka, Zambia
Background: Cancer of the cervix is the most common malignancy in women of childbearing age in Zambia. It is known to be associated with HIV infection and oncogenic strains of HPV. However, there are few studies of penile lesions as a predictor of malignant and premalignant cervical lesions in female partners.
Objectives: The aim of the study was to determine the association between men with penile lesions and premalignant cervical lesions in their female partners.
Design: Thirty-seven couples were screened for penile and cervical lesions to determine the association between the two. The male partners had a biopsy and the female partners had a Pap smear.
Results: Among 37 female partners, 29 (78.3%) had some type of cervical lesion. Two (5.4%) were undetermined and 6 (16.3%) of the females had normal Pap smears. Among the spouses with diseased cervices 22 (59.4%) were premalignant and 5 (13.5%) were malignant. The combined prevalence of malignant or premalignant cervical lesions among female partners was 73.0%. The HIV prevalence in the cohort was 88.9% (among those who agreed to be tested). The prevalence of premalignant or malignant cervical lesions was 75% in HIV positive and HIV negative females, and 66.7% in those who refused HIV testing.
Conclusion: This small pilot study suggests a high prevalence of premalignant or malignant lesions in females whose partners have penile lesions. In this cohort, HIV infection was not associated with a higher risk of neoplastic cervical lesions.
Keywords: Cervical cancer, penile cancer, HIV, Pap smear, Zambia