Silver Lining to HIV Treatment Found
Antiretroviral drugs also cut risk of cervical abnormality
WEDNESDAY, July 21, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A common therapy for HIV-positive women also can reduce a type of cervical abnormality linked to cancer, a new study says.
HIV infection is associated with an increased risk of abnormalities in the cervix called squamous intraepithelial lesions (SIL). These lesions disappear on their own without treatment in healthy women, but they open HIV-positive women up to infection by viruses that can cause cervical cancer.
Doctors found that highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) caused the lesions to regress. HAART involves a combination of antiretroviral drugs that helps boost the immune system.
"These findings underscore the importance of ensuring that women who are immunosuppressed have full access to antiretroviral therapy," lead author Linda Ahdieh-Grant, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in a statement.
The study appears in the July 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can explain antiretroviral drugs.