Screening HIV-infected patients for non-AIDS-defining malignancies

Curr HIV/AIDS Rep. 2009 May;6(2):83-92. doi: 10.1007/s11904-009-0013-0.


The use of antiretroviral therapy has reduced mortality and shifted the spectrum of malignancies affecting people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH). We review guidelines and evidence for screening PLWH for non-AIDS-defining malignancies as compared with the general population. Cervical cancer screening clearly differs for HIV-seropositive women, with two Pap tests 6 months apart in the first year and then annually if normal. The role of cervical human papillomavirus screening has not yet been defined in HIV-seropositive women. Anal cancer screening consists of an annual digital rectal examination, and some (but not all) guidelines also recommend annual anal Pap tests. Screening for breast and colorectal cancer should follow standard, age-appropriate screening recommendations that apply to the general population. Screening HIV-infected men for prostate cancer, as with the general population, lacks a clear benefit. Despite increasing rates of hepatocellular carcinoma and lung cancers among PLWH, there is insufficient evidence to support routine screening.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Young Adult