While antiretroviral (ARV) therapy is helping countless HIV-positive people live longer, a study published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes reveals that anal cancer poses an increasing risk among positive men who have sex with men (MSM), Aidsmap.com reports (aidsmap.com, 7/30).

According to the article, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore found that incidence of anal cancer was five times greater in HIV-positive MSM from 1984 through 2006. They noted a particular increase in cases reported since highly active ARV therapy became available, from 30 cases per 100,000 people in the pre-treatment era up to 137.

Experts attribute this jump to increased survival rates among people living with the virus, which allow pre-cancerous anal lesions to develop into full-blown cancer cases.

Aidsmap reports that the researchers call for further investigation to weigh the benefits and costs of risk reduction interventions and screening and treatment for pre-cancerous anal lesions in positive MSM.