Health Discoveries in AIDS-Related Cancers

Mixed cancer results for those with HIV

April 15, 2011
While AIDS-related cancers have decreased substantially, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that cancer cases overall tripled in recent years for people with the HIV virus.

Researchers found that AIDS-related cancers decreased from 34,000 cases between 1991 and 1995 to about 10,000 cases from 2001 to 2005. During the same time periods, the number of overall cancer cases jumped from 3,000 to 10,000 for those with HIV.

The decrease in Kaposi's sarcoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and invasive cervical cancer - the three cancers that may indicate if the HIV virus has progressed to AIDS - was attributed to the introduction of antiretroviral therapy. The therapy, introduced in 1996, improves immunity, reduces the development of AIDS and improves survival for those with HIV.

Published in the April issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the study attributed the rise in other cancers was attributed to the aging of the population, smoking and infections from cancer-causing viruses.

The North Shore-LIJ Health System provides HIV screening through ambulatory clinics, gynecology and primary care services at its member hospitals, including the Center for AIDS Research and Treatment at North Shore University Hospital.
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