HIV-positive men who have sex with men are up to 90 times more likely than the general population to develop anal cancer. Detection of precancerous changes (anal dysplasia) by anal cytology -- essentially an anal canal Pap smear -- is a relatively new procedure and one that has yet to enter standard practice.
Now researchers at UCLA report in a new study that they have demonstrated that abnormal anal cytology was highly predictive of anal cell abnormalities that were subsequently confirmed by anal biopsy. The study was based on data from 244 patients at the UCLA CARE clinic who had anal cytology screenings between February 2002 and December 2004.
Abnormal anal cytology in HIV-positive men who have sex with men is highly indicative of the presence of abnormal anal cells that may be precancerous and should prompt further investigation. The UCLA CARE Center is one of a handful of clinics in the United States offering an anal dysplasia screening and management service.
Authors of the study include Ross D. Cranston, Steven.D. Hart , Jeffrey A. Gornbein, Sharon L. Hirschowitz, Galen Cortina, and Ardis.A. Moe, all of UCLA. The research appears in the February issue of the International Journal of STD & AIDS.
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