May 24, 2024

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Is there any link between cancer and HIV?

Is there any  link between cancer and HIV?


Is there any link between cancer and HIV?  Approximately 35 million people worldwide are infected with HIV/AIDS. More than half of these people live in sub-Saharan Africa. About half are women.

In Zimbabwe, the death rate due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic continues to decline along with diagnosed infections. As of 2018, the United Nations Assistance Agency reported that AIDS-related deaths have been reduced by 60% since 2010. The number of new HIV infections decreased by 24,000.

The HIV prevalence rate among adults is 12.9%, which means that about 1.23 million adults in Zimbabwe will be infected with HIV in 2020. Statistics also show that 60% of cancer patients are HIV positive. Why are people living with HIV more likely to get cancer than people who are not living with HIV? HIV itself plays an important role in the growth of cancer in HIV-positive patients.

HIV attacks the immune system, which protects the body from infections and diseases. A weaker immune system is less able to fight disease. People with HIV tend to have weaker immune systems, which makes them more susceptible to cancer. Here are some reasons why cancer is more common among people living with HIV:


People with HIV live longer

HIV drug treatment helps people living with HIV live longer, but their immune systems are not completely healthy. As people with HIV live longer, their chances of developing other health problems, such as cancer, such as breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer, are increasing.


Co-infection of HIV and other viruses

Carrying HIV and a weakened immune system make it easier for other viruses to survive in the body. HIV and other viruses help cancer cells start to grow, some of which are hepatitis B and C viruses, herpes virus, human papilloma virus, and Epstein-Barr virus.

The link between HIV and these cancers has not been fully understood. Some of these cancers are related to infection by different viruses.

These viruses can cause cancer in both HIV carriers and non-HIV carriers, but HIV carriers may have a higher risk of disease because their immune systems are weaker in controlling the growth of the virus.

For example, anal cancer and some oral and throat cancers are related to human papillomavirus infection, which is the same virus that causes cervical cancer. It is known that liver cancer is more common in people infected with hepatitis B or C virus. Certain types of lymphoma are also related to viral infections.



What kind of cancer do people living with HIV get?

People living with HIV or AIDS can also get cancer just like everyone else. In fact, they are more likely to develop certain types of cancer than uninfected people.

In fact, certain types of cancer often occur in AIDS patients, so much so that they are considered a determinant of AIDS-these cancers include Kaposi’s sarcoma, cervical cancer, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Some cancers are also more common among people living with HIV or AIDS than those who are not infected, but the reasons for the increased risk are unclear.

This may be due to the weakening of the immune system due to the infection itself, which allows some cancers to develop and grow faster.

In other cases, it may be because people living with HIV or AIDS are more likely to have certain other cancer risk factors, such as smokers, alcoholics, and unhealthy dieters. These cancers include head and neck, anus, lungs, testes, skin, liver, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.



Cancer treatment for people living with HIV

The use of anti-HIV drugs has also increased the cancer survival rate of HIV-infected people, because many people are now able to receive full-dose chemotherapy and other standard cancer treatments, which may not have been possible in the past.

Of course, as people living with HIV get longer and longer, they will also develop other cancers that are not clearly related to HIV but are more common among the elderly.



What can people living with HIV or AIDS do to reduce their risk of cancer or catch cancer early?

Certain cancers are more common among HIV-infected people, but even among different HIV-infected people, if the infection is not well controlled, that is, the CD4 (helper T cell) count is low, and people with multiple cancers The risk is also higher. This is one of the reasons why people with HIV must insist on taking drugs to help control the infection.

By avoiding certain cancer risk factors, the risk of certain types of cancers that are more common among people living with HIV may be reduced.

For example, not smoking or taking drugs, avoiding or restricting alcohol, maintaining a healthy diet and weight, and exercise may help reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Some cancers related to HIV and AIDS are caused by viruses that can be transmitted sexually, so safe sex may also help prevent these cancers. A vaccine against the hepatitis B virus may help prevent a disease that may cause liver cancer.

Vaccines can also be used to prevent certain human papillomavirus infections, which may help prevent certain cervical, anal, and other cancers.

However, the HPV vaccine is effective only before a person is infected with HPV, so it is recommended that the injection be made before a person becomes sexually active.


(source:internet, reference only)

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