Antiretroviral therapy has helped HIV-positive youth in sub-Saharan Africa to live longer lives and to reach ages at which they are likely to become sexually active. The other side of the coin comes with increased risk of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and some cancers.

In a new study, researchers at the University of Washington tested the safety and efficacy of the HPV vaccine on HIV-positive African youth and found a robust immune response to the vaccine.

“The HPV vaccine is recommended as effective in this population,” said lead author Nelly Mugo, research associate professor in the Department of Global Health, which bridges the UW Schools of Public Health and Medicine. “The vaccine was found to be safe, with the most common side effect being pain with injection, and no serious adverse events were found to be related to the vaccine.”

Previous studies of the safety and efficacy of HPV vaccination have only been performed on HIV-infected youth in the United States. This is the first study of its kind to focus on African adolescents.

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