Sexual Health news - HIV

AIDS patients may be more likely to develop some cancers

Once an individual contracts HIV, the condition may progress to AIDS. Physicians can prescribe medication to slow this transgression, however, the late stage HIV infection is a result of the deterioration of the patient's immune system, and such damage makes it difficult for the body to fight diseases and some cancers, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

According to a new study published in the journal Gastroenterology, individuals with AIDS are more likely to develop esophageal and stomach cancers. Researchers from the National Cancer Institute examined the data of nearly 600,000 Americans diagnosed with AIDS between 1980 and 2007 from 16 cancer registries. They found that these patients are almost 70 percent more likely to develop esophageal cancer and 44 percent more likely to get stomach cancer, as compared to people without AIDS.

The study's investigators hypothesize that one of the reasons why the risk of these cancers increases for AIDS patients is because of frequent tobacco and alcohol use often observed among this population. However, health officials can promote programs that help affected individuals quit smoking and limit alcohol intake, which may help decrease the chance of developing cancer.

"People diagnosed with AIDS are living longer due to improved therapies. However, they remain at increased risk of developing a number of different cancers," said E. Christina Persson, Ph.D., lead author of the study. "An elevated risk of esophageal and stomach cancers had been observed before, but we were able to look at risk for subtypes of these malignancies."