Gay men with HIV in a small study in Thailand had three times the risk of developing high-grade precancerous anal lesions (HGAIN), a precursor to anal cancer, aidsmap reports. About a third of the men developed these lesions in a single follow-up year. Publishing their findings in the online edition of the journal AIDS, researchers studied 123 HIV-positive and 123 HIV-negative gay men in Bangkok.

The researchers screened the men for anal lesions at the outset of the study and again after six months and a year. They also screened for high-risk strains of human papillomavirus (HPV).

At the beginning of the study, 19 percent of the HIV-positive men and 11 percent of the HIV-negative men had HGAIN (which, technically, stands for high-grade anal intraepithelial neoplasia). At this point, just 13 percent of the men living with HIV were receiving treatment for the virus, a figure that increased to 47 percent by the year's end.

During the follow-up period, an additional 27 percent of the HIV-positive men and 7 percent of the HIV-negative men developed HGAIN. By the end of the year, HIV-positive participants had a 29 percent probability of having precancerous lesions while HIV-negative participants had a 13 percent probability. Forty-seven percent of the men with HIV had persistent high risk HPV infection compared with 19 percent of the HIV-negative men.

The investigators recommend screening and treating gay men for precancerous anal lesions and treating those that are detected.

To read the aidsmap story, click here.