HIV AND CANCER
ANCHOR LEAD: PEOPLE WITH HIV MAY BE AT RISK FOR A HOST OF DIFFERENT CANCERS, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Some types of cancer have always been associated with HIV infection and subsequent development of AIDS, but now a Lancet study reveals that several additional types of cancer also occur more often in those infected. Joel Gallant, an HIV expert at Johns Hopkins, explains.
GALLANT: We’ve always known that having advanced HIV disease puts you at greater risk of the so called AIDS defining cancers like Kaposi’s sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but there’s growing evidence that it also increases your risk for other cancers as well, so in this study they found a higher risk for Hodgkin’s disease and liver and lung cancer and the lowest risk was in people with essentially normal CD4 counts, the measure of your immune function. And that can be a hard goal to achieve if you get diagnosed late or start therapy with advanced disease, so this study really highlights the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. :31
Gallant advocates HIV testing for everyone as part of a general health screening, so that early treatment can be initiated. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.