February/March #132 : Behind Every Good Woman? - by Derek Thaczuk

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Table of Contents

The View

Status Seekers

Mentors-Feb/March 2007

Filling Station

Behind Every Good Woman?

How the Other Half Lives


Reyataz: Out With the Two Old, and In With One New

Ask the Sexpert-Feb/March 2007

Clap Trap

In the House

Pay It Forward

Health By Chocolate

Heart Condition

Saved by the Belly

Party Games

Discomfort Inn

Disobedience School

Styx and Stones

Parental Guidance

Oral Majority

Office Flirt

Who’s the Boss

Ed Letter-Feb/March 2007

Mailbox-Feb/March 2007

Catch of the Month-Feb/March 2007

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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February / March 2007

Behind Every Good Woman?

by Derek Thaczuk

A common infection sneaks up from the rear

Many HIV positive women’s troubles may now be behind them—literally. Studying positive women across the U.S., Brown University Medical School researchers recently found more instances of anal infections from a common sexually transmitted virus than cervical ones.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is so common that 40 million Americans have it (those who don’t can cut risk with faithful condom use). It’s especially widespread among positive people. Most strains, or forms, of HPV are not serious; others can lead to cancer.

Over time, the dangerous strains can cause abnormal cell growth in the cervix or anus. Some cells return to normal; others turn precancerous, possibly becoming cervical or anal cancer years later. Regular testing can catch growths early, and treating them can prevent cancer, so women are accustomed to having cervical Pap smears periodically (frequency depends on your risk factors). Now, you’re on notice: Get anal smears too.

Anal sex doesn’t seem to be the culprit. In Brown’s “SUN study,” all HPV strains were more frequent anally than cervically—whether or not the women reported having had anal sex.

Lead investigator Erna Kojic, MD, theorizes, “HPV is very infectious; it may be that the anus is simply more exposed and vulnerable to casual contact.” Whether more anal HPV will mean an overall increase in anal cancers, Kojic adds, remains unclear. “Cancer takes years to develop,” she says, “and the time to study it is now.” Meanwhile, watch your back.        

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