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Why Some Illnesses and Not Others?
Dec 24, 1999

Hi. I've been (knowingly) HIV for two years. It recently dawned on me: What's to prevent me, with my somewhat compromised immune system, from being more prone to things like, I don't know, colon cancer or lung cancer, for example. In other words, does having HIV make you more susceptible to every serious illness, or just "typical" AIDS-defining illnesses like KS or lymphoma?

Response from Dr. Feinberg

The immune deficiencies associated with HIV/AIDS seem to have a characteristic pattern-- in fact, that's how AIDS was discovered. As HIV+ people live longer, we may learn about other, much less common but still associated illnesses. There is a large long-term study going on now sponsored by the National Institutes of Health to track the development of different kinds of cancer in patients who with HIV, so eventually we should know the answer(s) to your question.


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