DOI: 10.1002/ijc.34707 ISSN:

Cervical precancer and cancer incidence among insured women with and without HIV in South Africa

Nathalie Verónica Fernández Villalobos, Yann Ruffieux, Andreas D. Haas, Chido Chinogurei, Morna Cornell, Katayoun Taghavi, Matthias Egger, Naomi Folb, Gary Maartens, Eliane Rohner
  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


HIV infection increases the risk of developing cervical cancer; however, longitudinal studies in sub‐Saharan Africa comparing cervical cancer rates between women living with HIV (WLWH) and women without HIV are scarce. To address this gap, we compared cervical precancer and cancer incidence rates between WLWH and women without HIV in South Africa using reimbursement claims data from a medical insurance scheme from January 2011 to June 2020. We used Royston‐Parmar flexible parametric survival models to estimate cervical precancer and cancer incidence rates as a continuous function of age, stratified by HIV status. Our study population consisted of 518 048 women, with exclusions based on the endpoint of interest. To analyse cervical cancer incidence, we included 517 312 women, of whom 564 developed cervical cancer. WLWH had an ~3‐fold higher risk of developing cervical precancer and cancer than women without HIV (adjusted hazard ratio for cervical cancer: 2.99; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.40‐3.73). For all endpoints of interest, the estimated incidence rates were higher in WLWH than women without HIV. Cervical cancer rates among WLWH increased at early ages and peaked at 49 years (122/100 000 person‐years; 95% CI: 100‐147), whereas, in women without HIV, incidence rates peaked at 56 years (40/100 000 person‐years; 95% CI: 36‐45). Cervical precancer rates peaked in women in their 30s. Analyses of age‐specific cervical cancer rates by HIV status are essential to inform the design of targeted cervical cancer prevention policies in Southern Africa and other regions with a double burden of HIV and cervical cancer.

More from our Archive