With National HIV Testing Day recently behind us and the 19th International AIDS conference happening later in July in Washington, DC, I would like to share some recent HIV/AIDS statistical, research, and policy highlights.
We’re now entering the fourth decade of HIV/AIDS awareness. Last year marked the 30th anniversary of the earliest report (on June 5, 1981) of what is now known as AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).
We cannot escape the realities of biology. Just as children rescued from leukemia and lymphoma live to grow into adults who must confront the adverse effects of their curative treatment, people rescued from AIDS by HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) are showing a substantially increased risk of cancers other than the "AIDS-defining" malignancies designated by the Centers for Disease Control in the 1980s: Kaposi sarcoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), and cervical cancer.
HIV’s disruption of immune system function may cause the immune system cells themselves to become cancerous, NCI researchers have concluded. If so, this might explain why patients with AIDS are 100 times more likely to be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma than the general population.