Cervical shedding of human T cell lymphotropic virus type I is associated with cervicitis

Joseph R. Zunt, Charlene S. Dezzutti, Silvia M. Montano, Katherine K. Thomas, Jorge O.V. Alarcón, Eberth Quijano, Barry N. Courtois, Jorge L. Sánchez, Pablo Campos, Eduardo Gotuzzo, Patricia C. Guenthner, Renu B. Lal, King K. Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Human T cell lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) is sexually transmitted. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and risk factors for cervical shedding of HTLV-I DNA among Peruvian sex workers. HTLV tax DNA was detected in cervical specimens from 43 (68%) of 63 HTLV-I-infected sex workers and in samples obtained during 113 (52%) of 216 clinic visits between 1993 and 1997. Detection of HTLV DNA was associated with the presence of ≥30 polymorphonuclear cells (PMNs) within cervical mucus per 100X microscopic field (odds ratio [OR], 4.3, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.8-10.1) and with the presence of cervical secretions (OR, 2.0; 95% CI 1.2-3.4). Hormonal contraceptive use (OR 1.7; 95% CI, 0.8-3.6) and concomitant cervical infection by Chlamydia trachomatis (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 0.3-4.3) or Neisseria gonorrhoeae (OR, 1.1; 95% CI, 0.6-3.7) were not significantly associated with HTLV-I shedding. Our results suggest that cervicitis may increase cervical HTLV-I shedding and the sexual transmission of this virus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1669-1672
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support: National Institutes of Health (NIH; grants TW00679 and AI0714P); Fogarty International (grant T22-TW-00001); University of Washington Center for AIDS Research (grant AI-27757); New Investigator Award from the NIH-funded University of Washington Sexually Transmitted Diseases–Cooperative Research Center (grant AI31448 to J.R.Z.).


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