Anal dysplasia in HIV-infected women: a commentary on the field

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Anal cancer may be an emerging clinical problem in HIV-infected women particularly in resource-limited settings. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is a precursor to anal cancer and is prevalent in HIV-infected women, but the natural history of HPV infection and anal cancer precursors is not well described in this population. It is not known which specific dysplastic lesions in the anus are most likely to progress, and whether treatment of high grade squamous intraepithelial lesion reduces the incidence of anal cancer in women. Cervical HPV infection and associated lesions may be related to the pathogenesis and natural history of anal disease. Cervical screening is resource intensive but some limited infrastructure exists in most areas where cervical cancer is prevalent. Anal screening, however is not performed. It may be that the infrastructure for cervical screening may be leveraged in developing the appropriate research, screening and treatment tools for anal dysplasia.

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