Cancers in People with HIV and AIDS. The field of HIV-associated cancer has undergone many changes and advances in the past several years, and this book was conceived to fill the need for a resource that summarizes this new information.
The 28 chapters describe the current state of knowledge in this area. These chapters were written by some of the most renowned experts in this field, and they cover a wide array of topics, including epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and treatment.
From the earliest days of the AIDS epidemic, it was evident that cancer was a major part of this new disease – many of the patients had Kaposi sarcoma or aggressive lymphomas, which along with cervical cancer were called “AIDS-defining.”
For reasons that were not well understood, only certain tumors seemed associated with AIDS, and most developed in patients who were profoundly immunosuppressed. Since that time, our understanding of HIV- associated cancers has increased dramatically. With the discovery of Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus and its identification as the cause of Kaposi sarcoma, it became apparent that many AIDS-associated cancers are caused by other viruses.
Also, we have seen dramatic changes in the AIDS epidemic itself. The development of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), also called combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), around 1996 profoundly changed AIDS from a death sentence to a treatable disease. Patients had dramatic improvements in their immune function, and the incidence of AIDS-associated tumors decreased. There was a sense that HIV – associated cancer was no longer a major problem. Nothing could be further from the truth.