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January 18, 2010

Anal cytology tests useful for detecting pre-cancerous cell changes in patients with HIV

"The investigators believe that their finding that the screening tool is especially accurate in patients with lower CD4 cell counts is important, “given the late diagnosis of HIV in a proportion of people with HIV and further increased risk of anal cancer in this group”. They also note that the accuracy of anal cytology is comparable to cervical cytology.

"Rates of cervical cancer in England fell dramatically after screening programmes were introduced. By contrast, the number of cases of anal cancer diagnosed in recent years has increased. Especially high rates of the disease are seen in HIV-positive individuals.

"Before anal cancer develops, the pre-cancerous lesions form in the anus. These are called anal intraepithelial neoplasia. Prompt diagnosis means that these pre-cancerous changes can be effectively treated."

Read more in Aidsmap, January 18, 2010.