Short communication: Viral suppression is associated with increased likelihood of colorectal cancer screening among persons living with HIV/AIDS

Academic Article


  • With improved survival and aging, more persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) are at risk for colorectal cancer (CRC). This retrospective longitudinal study evaluated patient characteristics associated with CRC screening in our HIV cohort. Patients were followed beginning at age 50 years during a study period from January 1, 2003 to December 31, 2010 (n=265). During a median follow-up time of 1.7 years, only 30% of patients underwent CRC screening. The majority of screened patients received endoscopic screening (colonoscopy, 86%; sigmoidoscopy, 8%); among these patients, results were available for 68/75, and adenomatous polyps were found in 13%. No cases of CRC were reported. Among unscreened patients, only 23% had an external primary care provider, indicating an HIV provider was the expected source for CRC screening referral in the majority. Patients with time-varying suppressed HIV viral load were more likely to receive screening (HRadjusted=1.74; 95% CI: 1.05-2.87), independent of CD4 count. Our findings suggest HIV providers are more likely to address non-HIV-related healthcare maintenance when HIV is controlled. In addition, a significant number of neoplastic lesions are likely being missed in PLWHA who have not been screened for CRC. Provision of evidence-based preventive care in addition to HIV care is required for the aging population of PLWHA.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Burkholder GA; Tamhane AR; Appell LE; Willig JH; Saag MS; Raper JL; Westfall AO; Mugavero MJ
  • Start Page

  • 519
  • End Page

  • 524
  • Volume

  • 31
  • Issue

  • 5