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Does prolonged use of HIV drugs cause cancer??
Aug 23, 2001

Thank you for always being so upbeat in your advice. You sound like a positive person to be around. You mention that anti-virals keep the cancer away much of the time as the body is not in such a stimulated environment with all of the virus. However, I have been hearing off and on that it is exactly those people who have a good CD4 cell count and no viral load who have been having the non-Hodgkins lymphoma as the meds themselves like AZT seem to incite it. One doctor told me that really it seemed that the time spent on the drugs like the 13 years that I have been on them was more of a culprit for that cancer. So what are your thougts about this as if time is the thing, my time has been long? On the other hand my primary care physican will go along with, but does not promote interrupting treatments. Thanks again.

Response from Dr. Dezube

You ask an excellent question-- Does long term use (in your case 13 years) promote cancer?

This is a question that has been addressed by several published studies. Certain of the HIV drugs have indeed been demonstrated to cause cancer in ANIMAL studies. However, all the human studies, to my knowledge, have been NEGATIVE. I firmly believe that long term use of antiretroviral drugs do NOT promote cancer in any signficant way, and if they were to do so, the benefit of taking them would far surpass the risk of them. My advice to you is that if this (the fear of cancer) is the only reason you are choosing to stop drugs, then I would tell you not to do so. The weight of the scientific evidence is AGAINST a cancerous effect from these drugs. BD.


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