HIV raises anal cancer risk in women, study says

April 16, 2012
HIV raises anal cancer risk in women, study says
Findings indicate gay men aren't only ones who need screening.

(HealthDay) -- Women with HIV are at increased risk for anal cancer, a new study finds.

Researchers at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City looked at 715 HIV-infected women and found that 10.5 percent had some form of anal disease and about one-third of those women had precancerous disease.

"Anal cancer was widely associated with HIV-infected men who have sex with men. But now, this study reveals anal precancerous disease in a high proportion of women with HIV," Dr. Mark Einstein, director of in the division of gynecologic oncology and a professor at College of Medicine, said in a Montefiore news release.

The increased risk of anal cancer in HIV-infected women is likely because HIV is associated with (HPV), which causes nearly all anal cancers, the researchers said.

The study appears May 1 in the Journal of AIDS.

The researchers said their findings suggest that all HIV-infected women who have abnormal findings on tests of anal should be referred for high resolution anoscopy, a visual examination of the inside of the anus.

In addition, all HIV-infected women and men should be considered for anal cancer screening, the researchers said.

Explore further: Cervical vaccine also protects against anal cancer risk

More information: The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about anal cancer.

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