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HPV Anal Cancer Statistics
Jul 15, 2004

There are a series of statistics that are reported over and over again regarding the incidence of colon-rectal cancer among men: 0.9 out of 100,000 for all men; 35 out of 100,000 for MSM non-HIV, and 70 out of 100,000 for MSM with HIV. The comments in the Gay community border on hysteria in some instances when HPV infection is added to the discussion. I have followed the reported statistics for the past four years and have not seen what I would call an epidemic having lived through the initial AIDS impact of 1978 to 1990 in New York City. Aside from the recommendations of the various medical and public health organizations, what do we know specifically about the individuals that make up the increase from 0.9 to 35 and those that make up the increase from 35 to 70? Granted, these are statistics, but statistics are based on observed occurrences that can be described in more detail. Extensive searches of the CDC, SEER and others have not provided any more detail. What do you know about these occurrences?

Response from Dr. Henry

There is some limited new data on that from the Bangkok meeting but the questions you raise remain unanswered. It still seems unclear to me whether HIV infection actually increases the rate of cancer/serious HPV problems or whether it is simply a marker for anal sex. As you point out, the data are not very clear on that--many states don't report HPV infection (Minnesota doesn't) so I think much of the statistics are suspect. We are starting a study (CDC sponsored) where we are doing HPV tests on all HIV+ patients that are being enrolled (HPV tests and anal paps)-men and women. It will take some time to get a good data set from our study. KH

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