Does HIV Cause Colorectal Cancer?

Last Editorial Review: 1/11/2018

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Is there a relationship between HIV and colorectal cancer?

Doctor's response

Yes. Human papilloma virus (HPV), the common cause of genital and anal warts, is associated with the development of anal cancer. Individuals who are co-infected with HIV and HPV are at an increased risk for developing the cancer. If a person with HIV is not already infected with HPV, the best defense is to practice safe sex so as to minimize the risk of becoming infected. If already infected with HPV, regular inspection for warts is recommended. Furthermore, studies are underway looking at the utility of anal PAP smears or biopsies to identify early changes that may predict the development of cancer. Similar to cervical cancer in women, anal cancer is preventable and can be effectively treated if caught early.

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