The Epidemiology of Cancer in People with HIV
Three types of cancer, namely Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), and cervical cancer, are formally designated as AIDS-defining cancers. KS occurs many thousandfold more commonly in people with HIV than in the general population and is causally associated with infection with human herpesvirus-8. Incidence of KS has greatly decreased in recent years in those populations of people with HIV who have access to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). NHL occurs 50- to 100-fold more commonly in people with HIV than in the general population and in a proportion of cases is related to Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) infection. Use of HAART has also resulted in substantial declines in incidence of NHL. Cervical cancer occurs up to 20 times more commonly in people with HIV than in the general population, and rates have been little affected by HAART use in recent years.
In addition to the AIDS-defining cancers, it has recently become clear that a wider range of mostly viral-associated cancers occur at increased rates in people with HIV. These include Hodgkin’s disease, the range of anogenital and oropharyngeal human papillomavirus associated cancers, liver cancer, and conjunctival cancers. Whether or not other cancers – including lung cancer and non-melanoma skin cancer – are associated with HIV infection is the subject of ongoing study.
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