Monday, June 27, 2016

Statistics on HIV infection shown in many different hypothetical sexual situations

Probabilities of HIV transmission per exposure to the virus are usually expressed in percentages or as odds (see chart at the end of this article). For example, the average risk of contracting HIV through sharing a needle one time with an HIV-positive drug user is 0.67 percent, which can also be stated as 1 in 149 or, using the ratios the CDC prefers, 67 out of 10,000 exposures. The risk from giving a blowjob to an HIV-positive man not on treatment is at most 1 in 2,500 (or 0.04 percent per act). The risk of contracting HIV during vaginal penetration, for a woman in the United States, is 1 per 1,250 exposures (or 0.08 percent); for the man in that scenario, it's 1 per 2,500 exposures (0.04 percent, which is the same as performing fellatio). 

As for anal sex, the most risky sex act in terms of HIV transmission, if an HIV-negative top—the insertive partner—and an HIV-positive bottom have unprotected sex, the chances of the top contracting the virus from a single encounter are 1 in 909 (or 0.11 percent) if he's circumcised and 1 in 161 (or 0.62 percent) if he's uncircumcised. And if an HIV-negative person bottoms for an HIV-positive top who doesn't use any protection but does ejaculate inside, the chances of HIV transmission are, on average, less than 2 percent. Specifically, it is 1.43 percent, or 1 out of 70. If the guy pulls out before ejaculation, then the odds are 1 out of 154.

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Looking for Symptoms Is a Poor Way to Detect Early HIV Infection

A treatment news post I found on that was originally published on I found this interesting and completely fitting for the HIV/AIDS subreddit I frequent as many people tend to think they have contracted HIV if they wake up with a cold a week after an unprotected sexual encounter. The amount of posts that are describing symptoms and requesting opinion's from us who have HIV either to validate or ease their worries is ridiculous. I've only been a reddit'r for less than two years but it is eye opening in learning the social stand points on many things.

Because people newly infected with HIV often show few symptoms and signs of seroconversion illness, relying on such often nonspecific markers is a poor way to detect early infection with the virus in clinics, MedPage Today reports. Publishing their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers conduced twice-weekly blood tests of 2,276 high-risk individuals in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Thailand.

An individual is acutely infected with HIV when he or she tests positive for HIV RNA or the p24 antigen (each of which shows up in the body before antibodies to the virus) but tests negative for antibodies.

A total of 261 members of the cohort tested positive for HIV RNA, and 112, or 3.4 percent of the cohort, had their HIV status confirmed. Out of that group, 50 people gave two or more samples of blood that tested positive for HIV RNA before they tested positive for antibodies as well. The study’s analysis focused on this group.

The median peak viral load among the group was 5 million, occurring 13 days after the first positive test of HIV RNA. After the first RNA-positive test, a median 14 days passed before individuals tested positive for antibodies. After peaking, the viral load hit a low point of 20,000, which was close to the viral load’s ultimate plateau of 25,000.

Most commonly, physical symptoms of acute HIV, also known as seroconversion illness, took place around the time of the viral load peak. The most commonly reported symptoms were fever, headache and malaise. The most common signs the doctors observed were high heart rate and swollen lymph nodes. Participants reported a median of one symptom of acute infection at a median of two study visits. Physicians observed one sign of acute infection at a median of three visits.

The researchers concluded: “Nonspecific symptoms and signs [of acute HIV] were most common, severe manifestations were not observed, volunteers reported symptoms in only 29 percent of visits, and on any given visit day the likelihood of observing a symptom or sign was only 50 percent.”

To read the MedPage Today article, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

This actually sounds promising. It's the weekly antibody injection Charlie Sheen has talked about. He actually is part of this case study.

Weekly PRO 140 Antibody Injections May Work as HIV Maintenance Therapy

June 20, 2016
Weekly injections of a monoclonal antibody known as PRO 140 may work as a stand-alone treatment for individuals living with HIV, according to a study presented at ASM Microbe 2016, in Boston.
The phase-2b study followed 39 people who were living with CCR5-tropic HIV. CCR5 is a receptor on the CD4 cell that most strains of HIV use as a point of entry. PRO 140 is able to bind to CCR5, preventing HIV infection.
The study participants achieved undetectable viral loads (below 40 copies/mL) on standard once-daily antiretroviral therapy. They were then switched to weekly subcutaneous injections of PRO 140 monotherapy. After they maintained viral suppression for 13 weeks, 16 participants were trained to self-administer the weekly injections.
"The PRO 140 treatment was well tolerated by patients with no discontinuation or drug-related adverse effects," said lead author Paul J. Maddon, M.D., Ph.D., according to the study press release. "Importantly, PRO 140 monotherapy can allow patients to avoid the potential toxicity of [antiretroviral therapy] while preserving future drug options," Maddon added.There were 15 participants included in the final results, with 86.7% male, 20% non-white, a median age of 55 years and median CD4 count of 586 cells/mm3. Out of those 15, 10 participants are still on PRO 140 monotherapy and have maintained viral suppression for almost 18 months, according to a study press release.
Three participants experienced virologic failure at a median time of 169 days. They were subsequently restarted on standard antiretroviral therapy and achieved an undetectable viral load after a median of 29 days. Additionally, one participant with an undetectable viral load discontinued the PRO 140 treatment at week 47 because of relocation.
"PRO 140 may offer a simple, long-acting, single-agent maintenance therapy after initial [antiretroviral therapy] in selected patients with HIV infection," Maddon concluded.
The researchers plan to move on to a larger phase-2b or phase-3 study.
PRO 140 is the experimental drug that the actor Charlie Sheen, who publicly disclosed his HIV status in November 2015, recently revealed he was receiving as part of a clinical trial.
Here's a video from the antibody developers showing how PRO 140 combats HIV:

Editor's note: This is a developing story and more details will be added as we receive additional information.
Warren Tong is the senior science editor for and
Follow Warren on Twitter: @WarrenAtTheBody.

Copyright © 2016 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Odefsey - One a day pill using Truvada in combination with other ART's

What is the most important information I should know about ODEFSEY?

ODEFSEY may cause serious side effects:
  • Buildup of an acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include feeling very weak or tired, unusual muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold (especially in your arms and legs), feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat.
  • Serious liver problems. The liver may become large and fatty. Symptoms of liver problems include your skin or the white part of your eyes turning yellow (jaundice); dark "tea-colored" urine; loss of appetite; light-colored bowel movements (stools); nausea; and/or pain, aching, or tenderness on the right side of your stomach area.
  • You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight, or have been taking ODEFSEY or a similar medicine for a long time. In some cases, lactic acidosis and serious liver problems have led to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of these conditions.
  • Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. ODEFSEY is not approved to treat HBV. If you have both HIV-1 and HBV and stop taking ODEFSEY, your HBV may suddenly get worse. Do not stop taking ODEFSEY without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to monitor your health.

Who should not take ODEFSEY?

Do not take ODEFSEY if you take:
  • Certain prescription medicines for other conditions. It is important to ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about medicines that should not be taken with ODEFSEY. Do not start a new medicine without telling your healthcare provider.
  • The herbal supplement St. John's wort.
  • Any other medicines to treat HIV-1 infection.

What are the other possible side effects of ODEFSEY?

Serious side effects of ODEFSEY may also include:
  • Severe skin rash and allergic reactions. Skin rash is a common side effect of ODEFSEY. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get a rash, as some rashes and allergic reactions may need to be treated in a hospital. Stop taking ODEFSEY and get medical help right away if you get a rash with any of the following symptoms: fever, skin blisters, mouth sores, redness or swelling of the eyes (conjunctivitis), swelling of the face, lips, mouth, or throat, trouble breathing or swallowing, pain on the right side of the stomach (abdominal) area, and/or dark "tea-colored" urine.
  • Depression or mood changes. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you: feel sad or hopeless, feel anxious or restless, have thoughts of hurting yourself (suicide) or have tried to hurt yourself.
  • Changes in liver enzymes. People who have had hepatitis B or C or who have certain liver enzyme changes may have a higher risk for new or worse liver problems while taking ODEFSEY. Liver problems can also happen in people who have not had liver disease. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your liver enzymes before and during treatment with ODEFSEY.
  • Changes in body fat, which can happen in people taking HIV-1 medicines.
  • Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking ODEFSEY.
  • Kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys. Your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking ODEFSEY if you develop new or worse kidney problems.
  • Bone problems, such as bone pain, softening, or thinning, which may lead to fractures. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your bones.
The most common side effects of rilpivirine, one of the medicines in ODEFSEY, are depression, trouble sleeping (insomnia), and headache.
The most common side effect of emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide, two of the medicines in ODEFSEY, is nausea.
Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or do not go away.

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking ODEFSEY?

  • All your health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have or have had any kidney, bone, mental health (depression or suicidal thoughts), or liver problems, including hepatitis virus infection.
  • All the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Other medicines may affect how ODEFSEY works. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. Ask your healthcare provider if it is safe to take ODEFSEY with all of your other medicines.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if ODEFSEY can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking ODEFSEY.
  • If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk.


ODEFSEY is a 1-pill, once-a-day prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in people 12 years and older. It can either be used in people who are starting HIV-1 treatment, have never taken HIV-1 medicines before, and have an amount of HIV-1 in their blood ("viral load") that is no more than 100,000 copies/mL; or in people who are replacing their current HIV-1 medicines and whose healthcare provider determines they meet certain requirements. These include having an undetectable viral load (less than 50 copies/mL) for 6 months or more on their current HIV-1 treatment. ODEFSEY combines 3 medicines into 1 pill taken once a day with a meal. ODEFSEY is a complete HIV-1 treatment and should not be used with other HIV-1 medicines.
ODEFSEY does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. To control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses, you must keep taking ODEFSEY. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to reduce the risk of passing HIV-1 to others. Always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids. Never reuse or share needles or other items that have body fluids on them.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit, or call .
Please see full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information with important warnings.

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

What Is Chronic Inflammation and Why Is It Such a Big Deal for People With HIV?

A primer on the harms of HIV-related chronic inflammation, what treatments are being researched and what you can do to reduce inflammation and improve your long-term health

April 5, 2016  By Benjamin Ryan

Antiretrovirals (ARVs) have added decades to the life spans of people living with HIV who have access to treatment. Nevertheless, when compared with HIV-negative people, those taking treatment for the virus still have a higher risk of various health problems typically associated with aging. The reasons behind these increased health risks still aren’t very well understood, but the scientific community is eagerly looking for answers. Researchers are inclined to point the finger at a phenomenon known as chronic inflammation as a main culprit.

When you get a cut or infection, your immune system jump-starts a cascading process that sends to the site a diverse army of cells that promote healing and infection control and give rise to inflammation. Included in this complex, interconnected battalion are CD4 and CD8 cells (known as “helper” and “killer” T-cells), antibodies, clotting factors and pro-inflammatory cytokines, among many others.

Normally, certain cells will turn off this healthy inflammatory process when the healing or infection-fighting process is complete. But sometimes, inflammation persists over the long term and can become counterproductive, causing damage to healthy cells and tissues. In HIV-negative people, chronic inflammation is tied to a host of diseases, including cardiovascular, autoimmune, liver and kidney diseases and cancer.

HIV itself appears to give rise to chronic inflammation. The virus also leads to dysregulation of the immune system, which can further fuel inflammation. Many scientists believe that HIV-related chronic inflammation contributes to HIV-positive individuals’ increased risk of cardiovascular disease, neurocognitive disease, osteoporosis (bone loss), liver disease, kidney disease, frailty and some non-AIDS-defining cancers. These are all conditions associated with getting older. People with HIV tend to get them at younger ages than their HIV-negative counterparts.

Within weeks of infection, HIV begins a massive assault on the gut, which has a high concentration of CD4 cells. Even very early treatment of the virus may not totally reverse this damage, which appears to cause chronic inflammation by allowing harmful microbes to seep into the body (in a process called microbial translocation), thus spurring more immune activation and chronic inflammation.

While HIV treatment does help fight the immune dysfunction and chronic inflammation caused by the virus, ARVs don’t necessarily wipe out these effects. For one thing, having an undetectable viral load doesn’t mean the virus is totally silent. Low-level viral replication may still persist—and at a high enough level to prompt a constant state of alert from the immune system, a chronic inflammatory state. Consequently, over-activated immune cells may be driven to a state of exhaustion, similar to what is seen in older people. HIV may also disrupt the cells that turn inflammation on or off, possibly compromising the body’s ability to properly regulate inflammation.

People with HIV tend to have higher rates of other viral infections, such as hepatitis B or C viruses (HBV, HCV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV, which is in the herpes family), which may also contribute to chronic inflammation and immune activation.

Additionally, HIV may cause scarring in both the thymus and the lymph nodes, leading to interference in the body’s ability to fight infections. The thymus is an organ in the chest that is responsible for manufacturing T-cells, while the lymph nodes are responsible for coordinating immune responses to infections.

The numerous serious health problems to which chronic inflammation could give rise may sound alarming. But Steven Deeks, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), who is an expert in HIV-related chronic inflammation, says, “It’s important to emphasize that the effect that we’re talking about is not dramatic.” Such an effect, he says, “will likely not have much of an impact on people’s quality of life—their overall health, really—until people are in their sixth, seventh decades of life, at which point in time it could very well be much more apparent.”

Research into treatments for chronic inflammation:

“I think the jury is still out whether the best approach is to target the inflammatory response or rather to target the root drivers of the inflammatory response: HIV itself, coinfections, microbial translocation,” says Peter Hunt, MD, an associate professor of medicine at UCSF who also studies HIV-related chronic inflammation. “One of the problems is that we don’t really have successful interventions to block those root causes; we don’t have any interventions that turn off HIV expression.”

Several research studies have suggested that the cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins may lower chronic inflammation among people with HIV and protect them against its harmful effects. But results from a study that provides gold-standard scientific evidence of such benefits from statins are still lacking. Researchers are currently enrolling a planned 6,500 participants into such a trial, called REPRIEVE. The study includes people with HIV who are taking ARVs and who wouldn’t normally be in a position to take a statin; they will be randomized to either receive a statin or a placebo. The study will hopefully answer whether statins’ anti-inflammatory effects will translate into a lowered risk of disease, such as heart attack or cancer, among people with HIV. Unfortunately, results aren’t expected until 2021.

Other on-the-market medications currently under investigation as anti-inflammatory agents for people with HIV include Micardis (telmisartan), a blood-pressure medication, and the diabetes medication Vildagliptin (galvus). Research has already shown that aspirin does not apparently help HIV-related inflammation.

Scientists are also investigating to see whether probiotics, which promote desirable bacteria in the digestive system, may affect the body’s so-called microbiome in a way that helps lower gut-related inflammation.

Seeking to directly affect inflammatory pathways, researchers are looking at drugs used for inflammatory diseases, like the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis, and are even looking at some cancer treatments. Other research is examining drugs that inhibit major indicators of inflammation, called biomarkers, such as the cytokines interleuken-1 or -6 (IL-1, IL-6).

Experts generally agree that a cure for HIV, if it is ever developed, remains decades away (contrary torecent erroneous news reports). In the meantime, as researchers strive to develop ways to shrink the size of the viral reservoir and, in turn, likely reduce low-level viral replication, they may wind up with treatments that, even if they don’t cure someone, end up dampening chronic inflammation.

Things you can do to fight chronic inflammation and its potentially harmful effects:

According to Deeks, the long-term damage caused by HIV-related chronic inflammation may be easier to prevent when people are younger, as opposed to reversing the damage once people are elderly.

Ways to prevent such damage include:
  • Early treatment. Research has shown that starting ARVs as soon after infection as possible reduces the likelihood of health problems linked to inflammation, such as heart attack and certain cancers.
  • Take your ARVs every single day. Recent research found that anything less than 100 percent adherence was tied to higher inflammation.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking is especially harmful among people living with HIV (not to mention highly common) and can exacerbate inflammation in the arteries.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Research has shown that the so-called Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke.
  • Get moving. Regular exercise reduces your risk of numerous health problems.
  • Shed body fat. Fat tissue may be a source of inflammation.
  • Treat coinfections. Hep C is now curable through as little as eight weeks of treatment, and hep B is treatable. Both infections can cause severe damage to the liver; even well-treated HIV can accelerate such damage.

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Friday, June 3, 2016

White house meeting on HIV Stigma and what plans they have to combat the issue.

March 30, 2016
White House Meeting on HIV Stigma: Research for a Robust Response

Summary: On March 3, ONAP and NIH co-hosted the White House Meeting on HIV Stigma: Research for a Robust Response.

As we approach the 35th anniversary of the first case reports of what would later come to be known as HIV/AIDS, we can rightfully celebrate that we now have an array of effective tools to prevent new infections, diagnose them, and care for people living with HIV. Yet the great effectiveness of these tools is too often blunted due to persistent HIV-related stigma and discrimination. We know from studies as well as countless personal stories that HIV-related stigma inhibits far too many people from accessing HIV prevention, testing, and care, even today. Clearly, in order to end the epidemic, we must combat stigma and discrimination. With that in mind, earlier this month, as part of ongoing work to advance the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the White House and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) held a meeting specifically focused on what the research tells us about HIV-related stigma and what more we need to know about it.
NIH-supported research has contributed to many tools to measure stigma and development of interventions to prevent it. The March 3 meeting, subtitled "Translating Research to Action: Reducing HIV Stigma to Optimize HIV Outcomes," was jointly convened by the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), the NIH Office of AIDS Research, and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The gathering brought together researchers and other stakeholders from across the U.S. and around the world including representatives from Federal agencies, leading academic institutions, the legal community, advocates, and ministers for a rich conversation about this complex and multifaceted issue. Participants discussed best practices for measuring and monitoring HIV stigma, as well as methods of intervention focused on reducing or overcoming stigma in order to improve HIV outcomes as well as gaps in our understanding of stigma that need to be examined further.
Among the key points discussed in presentations, panel discussions, and dialogue were the following:
  • Stigma is prevalent around the world and remarkably consistent across countries, with many more similarities than differences.
  • Stigma can come from friends and family, the larger community, health care providers, and law enforcement as well as be internalized (i.e., self-stigma). Each of these suggests different ways and places for intervention to prevent or reduce stigmatizing behaviors, practices, or policies.
  • Providers in the healthcare system, one presenter observed, can sometimes unwittingly be agents of stigma. Even for the most resilient and resourceful person, observed another presenter, interactions with their health care providers can have a profound impact on the individual's willingness to engage in care. Thus working to ensure that HIV prevention, testing, and care can be delivered in a stigma-free manner is vital to achieving better health outcomes for people living with HIV.
  • Measures now exist that enable us to not only understand stigma's scope and dimensions, but also to design effective programs and evaluate progress. It is important to examine and measure HIV-related stigma experienced by people living with HIV as well as both the general public's and healthcare providers' attitudes about HIV to effectively intervene and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV.
  • Research has yielded mechanisms to reduce stigma and interventions exist for adaptation and scale-up.
  • HIV-related stigma and discrimination are often intertwined with other forms of stigma and discrimination, such as those related to sexual orientation, gender identity, mental health, substance use, sex work, socio-economic status, and/or race/ethnicity.
  • Stigma is an under-studied social determinant of health in HIV prevention and care outcome studies.
  • HIV-related stigma and rights violations are often inter-related; as such, addressing stigma is as much a human rights issue as an HIV issue.
  • Leaders and stakeholders from many sectors must be engaged in addressing stigma and stopping discrimination. Participants highlighted roles for health care providers, policy makers, faith communities, community members, people living with HIV, and researchers.
  • While goals, measures, and interventions to reduce stigma are vital, several presenters shared a profound belief that through telling and listening to personal stories we help others better understand and, ultimately, address stigma. Speaking during the first panel, my predecessor Douglas Brooks, UNAIDS' Regan Hofmann, and PEPFAR's Cornelius Baker each shared compelling examples of HIV-related stigma they had experienced. Two examples of how personal stories have been shared by the Federal government include the moving personal story shared prior to the meeting by our colleague Dr. Richard Wolitski and CDC's Let's Stop HIV Together campaign.
  • The meeting galvanized the participating researchers and other stakeholders and will hopefully lead to new insights, collaborative efforts, and utilization of evidence-based measures and interventions The information shared during the meeting will also aid the ongoing efforts of NIMH, which views stigma as a significant component of all the new NIH AIDS research funding priorities and will continue to place a high priority on stigma research in the years ahead. The information will also be utilized by ONAP as we continue work with Federal partners and other stakeholders to develop an NHAS indicator to measure stigma. We hope that these collective efforts along with those by other stakeholders will accelerate the reduction of HIV-related stigma and improve outcomes for people living with HIV.
    Amy Lansky, Ph.D., M.P.H. is the Acting Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Exploiting one's vulnerability during a tragic time is both detestable and shameful~

Seems like there is an outbreak of useless info on so called "cures"

that simply do not exist yet. Just like an opportunistic infection prey's

on a vulnerable immune system these low life's prey on a hopeful

person's vulnerable state of mind during a tragic time. It's disgusting

in my opinion. Be smart and educate yourself so you don't feel foolish

and hurt when your let down by these fucking idiots and hold your

head high knowing without a cure your still alive and living, hopefully

to the fullest! Have a great day everyone!

#HIVTruth #FightStigma #SpeakOutHIV #HIV #HIVStigma #AIDS

People With HIV Are Less Likely To Get Cancer Treatment- An Article from

We’ve made great progress treating people who are infected with HIV, but if they get cancer they’re less likely to get the care they need, a recent study found.
Researchers examined treatment for a variety of cancers, including upper gastrointestinal tract, colorectal, prostate, lung, head and neck, cervix, breast, anal and two blood cancers. With the exception of anal cancer, treatment rates differed significantly between HIV-infected people and those who weren’t infected, according to the study.
For example, 33 percent of patients with HIV and lung cancer failed to receive any treatment for the cancer compared with 14 percent of those who weren’t infected. Similarly, 44 percent of people who were HIV positive didn’t receive treatment for upper GI cancer versus 18 percent of those where weren’t infected with HIV. Twenty-four percent of men with prostate cancer who were HIV positive didn’t get treatment compared with 7 percent of non-HIV infected men.
Cancer treatment was defined as radiation, chemotherapy and/or surgery.
“To have made such great strides with treating HIV only to have them succumb to cancer is devastating,” said Dr. Gita Suneja, a radiation oncologist at the University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City and the lead author of the study. It was published online this month in the journal Cancer.
The study used the National Cancer Data Base to analyze treatment for adults younger than 65 who were diagnosed with any of the 10 most common cancers to affect HIV patients between 2003 and 2011. The study included 10,265 HIV-infected adults and 2.2 million without HIV.
The data base, which is sponsored by the American Cancer Society and the American College of Surgeons, captures roughly 70 percent of newly diagnosed cancer cases in the United States.
woman patient in hospital with saline intravenous (iv)The study noted that more than a third of the patients with HIV had stage 4 cancer — cancer that has metastasized — when they were diagnosed, while only 19 percent of those without HIV did.
Improvements in antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV have helped reduce the incidence of cancers such as Kaposi sarcoma that are closely linked to AIDS, but rates for other cancers often associated with normal aging have increased among HIV patients. In addition, people with HIV have a higher incidence of some lifestyle-related cancers, such as lung cancer, which could be linked to higher rates of smoking. Cancer is now the second most common cause of death among HIV-infected people, behind AIDS-related causes.
HIV patients are more likely to be uninsured or underinsured, and lack of coverage can affect access to cancer care. But having insurance didn’t eliminate the problem: privately insured people with HIV were significantly more likely to be untreated for many cancers than were privately insured people without HIV, the study found.
“We know that people with Medicaid or who are uninsured receive subpar cancer treatment, and that’s a big public health issue,” said Suneja. “But even factoring that in, HIV-infected people are still less likely to receive cancer treatment. That means there are other drivers that we couldn’t measure in the study.”
Disparities in cancer treatment could exist for several reasons. For one thing, for most cancers there are no national treatment guidelines for HIV-infected patients, Suneja said. One of the few exceptions is anal cancer, the only cancer for which the study found little discrepancy in treatment among HIV-infected and non-infected patients. According to the research, the difference among those not receiving treatment was 4.8 percent for HIV patients versus 3.1 percent for others.
For other cancers, “the oncologist may pause and ask, ‘Does the HIV infection mean they shouldn’t get standard cancer treatment?’” Suneja added.
This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Please contact Kaiser Health News to send comments or ideas for future topics for the Insuring Your Health column.
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