HealthDay News — Antiretroviral therapy has extended the lives of people with HIV, but living longer may increase these patients’ risk for certain cancers, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers focused on 86,620 HIV patients and 196,987 non-HIV adults who participated in the North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design study between 1996 and 2009. The team tracked the rate of nine types of cancer, including Kaposi sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lung cancer, anal cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, oral cavity/pharyngeal cancer, and melanoma. The authors also calculated each group’s total cancer risk until age 75.

The team determined that, compared with non-HIV participants, cancer rates for HIV patients were higher across all nine cancers in every year examined. In particular, by 2009, HIV patients were identified as having a one in 25 lifetime risk for developing Kaposi sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, or lung cancer. However, declines were seen in the rate of Kaposi sarcoma — by 6% a year — and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which fell by 8% a year. No change was noted for lung cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and melanoma. But anal cancer and liver cancer incidence each went up by 6% a year, while colorectal cancer rose by 5% annually.

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As HIV has become a long-term chronic condition, “all sorts of health issues that patients and their doctors didn’t think they had to worry about are now something they have to worry about,” study coauthor Michael Horberg, M.D., immediate past chair of the HIV Medicine Association and Kaiser Permanente’s director of HIV/AIDS, told HealthDay. “It’s no longer enough just to survive,” he added. “You want to survive well.”


  1. Silverberg MJ, Lau B, Achenbach CJ, et al. Cumulative Incidence of Cancer Among Persons With HIV in North America: A Cohort Study. Ann Intern Med. 2015; doi:10.7326/M14-2768.