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Shakuntala Mahilkar, MSc, PhD


GHES LMIC Fellow 2019-2020

FELLOWSHIP SITE: Public Health Research Institute of India (PHRII)
U.S. INSTITUTION: Florida International University

Project Title: Comparison of vaginal microbiome in HIV infected women with and without HPV co-infection and its association with disease severity.

HIV infection has been strongly linked to increased risk of infection with HPV, and the severity of HPV pathogenesis. HR-HPV genotypes are more prevalent in HIV infected women, suggesting HIV infection provides an environment where HR-HPV can better establish infection and replicate. Thus, it is more important to understand the risk factors associated with the vaginal mirobiome in case of HIV and HPV infection. In this study, we plan to analyze and compare the vaginal microbiome associated with HPV infection in HIV infected women in Mysore, India. The study will define bacterial communities associated with HIV infection with and without HPV co-infection. This study may suggest certain microbiota may be used as diagnostic biomarkers for those at high-risk of developing severe pathological outcome and for the development of preventative probiotic or antibiotic treatments which could control the microbiome by promoting bacterial colonization associated with healthy vaginal microbiota.