Treatment News : Starting HIV Meds When CD4s Are Low Raises Cancer Risk

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June 12, 2013

Starting HIV Meds When CD4s Are Low Raises Cancer Risk

With cancer an increasingly significant cause of sickness and death among people with HIV, a new study has shed important light on the timing and patterns of cancer diagnoses after antiretroviral (ARV) treatment is begun, aidsmap reports. Reporting their findings in the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases, a team of researchers analyzed records of 11,485 people with HIV who began ARVs between 1996 and 2011, with a median year of 2004. As the study population began therapy, the median CD4 count was 202.

The incidence rates for Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) and for lymphomas were at their peak in the six months following ARV initiation; after that, they leveled off. On average, incidence rates for all other cancers combined increased at an average of 7 percent each year between one and 10 years after beginning ARVs—a finding the study authors attributed to the effects of aging. Having a lower CD4 count when starting therapy was associated with a greater risk of KS, lymphoma and human papillomavirus (HPV)–related cancer.

To read the aidsmap story, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.

Search: HIV, antiretrovirals, CD4 count, cancer, Kaposi's sarcoma, lymphoma, Clinical Infectious Diseases.


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  comments 1 - 2 (of 2 total)    

Thomas Dossey, Baltimore, 2013-06-13 16:56:48
This confirms once again, that it is best to initiate therapy earlier rather than later. This has always been my long held belief. And since the advent of ARV therapy, great advancements have been made in developing drugs that are less toxic and with fewer side effects. Unless you are a LTNP, preserve what you have and start taking medications.

Peter, San Francisco, 2013-06-12 13:22:24
Yup! Started therapy, very low CD4 count, got KS, went systemic, found good doctor, got string chemo, survived, still feel like crap 15+ years later. Start meds ASAP. Stay on meds and live. Don't like meds, write your will.

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