Also known as human immunodeficiency virus, HIV is a sexually transmitted infection that weakens a person’s immune system by destroying T-cells. T-cells play an important role in helping clear infections - this includes cancer-causing viruses. As a result, people with HIV may not be able to fight infections easily and may be at a greater risk of developing certain types of cancers . The National Cancer Institute refer to these as “HIV-associated cancers” and they include :
- Kaposi sarcoma
- Aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Cervical cancer
See also: HIV and Pneumonia: What’s the connection?
How does HIV affect cancer risk?
HIV reduces the body’s ability to fight certain viral infections that may lead to cancer by reducing the number of T-cells in the immune system. The viruses that are more likely to cause cancer in individuals with HIV include :
- Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (HHV-8): Causes Kaposi sarcoma and types of lymphoma
- Epstein-Barr virus: Causes some types of non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin lymphoma
- Human papillomavirus (HPV): High-risk strains can cause cervical cancer, most anal cancers, and oropharyngeal, penile, vaginal, and vulvar cancer
See also: How Do You Check For HIV From Home?
If HIV is detected early it can be controlled and effective treatment can commence which will help reduce the risk of developing these types of cancers . The best way to know your status is by taking a test; this can be done by taking a trip to your doctor’s office or from the comfort of your own home with an at-home lab test.
LetsGetChecked’s range of at-home STI tests detect the most common sexually transmitted infections. Testing for HIV will involve a simple finger prick sample and your online results will be available within 5 days. Should you have any questions regarding your results, our dedicated medical team will be available to provide guidance and support.
See also: What Are The Most Common STDs?