Anal HPV, Healthy Aging
The goal of this study is to understand how aging, HIV, and infection of the anus with human papillomavirus (HPV-the virus that causes anal cancer) interact to cause health concerns among men who have sex with men (MSM). We already know that normal biological aging can lead to lower immune function1. Aging is also associated with a higher risk of developing many cancers including anal cancer. We also know that individuals living with HIV infection, even when they are treated with antiretroviral therapy, have some of the same illnesses that we associate with older age2. They are also more likely to develop anal cancer than individuals who do not have HIV infection3. However, biological aging, HIV infection, and anal HPV infection have never been specifically evaluated in a research study together. The overall incidence rate of anal cancer among HIV-infected MSM is about 70 times higher than in the general population4&22. We do not know if MSM who are living into older age with their HIV disease are at even higher risk of anal diseases related to HPV infection, including anal cancer. As HIV-infected MSM age with their infection, it is very important that we understand how age and HPV can interact with HIV infection so we can develop prevention, screening, and treatment tools to support health in this community.