Persistent high-risk Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a necessary but not sufficient cause for development of cervical cancer. Changes in the vaginal microbiota including reduction of Lactobacillus and increased microbial diversity may facilitate HPV infection and persistence as well as the pathogenesis of cervical cancer. Our objective was to characterize the vaginal microbiota among women with and without persistent HPV infection with HPV 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, 58 in a cohort of young U.S. women. Methods: This analysis used data from a longitudinal study of 1365 women followed for 12 months every two months apart from six locations across the US. HPV genotyping was performed using quantitative PCR using TaqMan probes in a customized plate (ThermoFisher Scientific). Bacterial communities were profiled by 16S rRNA gene sequences from the V3-V4 region using high-throughput pyrosequencing. Persistence was defined by examining for HPV presence in two consecutive visits. Results: Participants included 80 African-American women tested at 3 consecutive time-points. The mean age of participants was 21.4 years. About 43.7% (95% CI: 32.7%–55.3%) had persistent HPV infection, 20% (11.9%–30.4%) were able to clear the infection, and 36.2% (25.8%–47.8%) were consistently negative for HPV infection at all three time points. Atopobium and Peptoniphilus were significantly more abundant in women who were HPV negative suggesting possible protective effects. Prevotella bivia was enriched among women with persistent HPV. Conclusion: Based on these data, we can hypothesize that Prevotella richness is significantly associated with HPV persistence, suggesting a possible role in chronic HPV infection and development of cervical cancer.

The following are the 17 highest scoring abstracts of those submitted for presentation at the 44th Annual ASPO meeting held March 22–24, 2020, in Tucson, AZ.