About the Study

 

Why is this study important?

HPV is the cause of a large majority of anal cancer cases5, but anal cancer can be prevented with proper screening. Among MSM it is the most common form of cancer, even surpassing prostate cancer6.
Though anti-retroviral treatments (ART) have changed what it means to live with HIV, they have not restored perfect health2. Many chronic diseases associated with aging, including anal HPV, are found at higher levels in HIV+ versus HIV- individuals, even when viral load is undetectable2. This study aims to further understand these discrepancies.
Men 60 and older are more likely to get anal cancer than all other ages combined6. Having HIV also increases anal cancer likelihood, and more than half of HIV+ individuals in the US are over the age of 50.

Did you know these HPV facts?

Getting Screened

At your visit, you will meet with a study doctor who will screen you for anal cancer with an HRA exam. Anal cancer is rare, but can be easy to treat when caught early7.

While anal cancer is rare, anal cancer precursors are common7. At the visit, your doctor will be screening you for these precursors as well. This is especially true among people living with HIV4. Anal cancer precursors are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV)5&20, and they develop over decades8. Conversion from anal cancer precursors to anal cancer is uncommon9, but the AHHA study is interested in monitoring changes to these HPV precursors over time.

Clinic physicians search for anal cancer and anal cancer precursors using an examination known as a high resolution anoscopy examination (HRA exam). This exam has been being performed at the ANCRE clinic for 25+ years. During the exam, the doctor will use a camera to magnify anal tissue to look for any abnormalities.

Resources

Below is a list of other resources which are available in the community. These pages have additional information which you might find useful.