By Gathonye Gathura
Doctors have raised concern after it emerged that HIV virus was linked to an increase in a variety of Aids-related cancers and other chronic ailments.
Dr Joseph Aluoch, a chest expert, reveals that with the presence of HIV in the body and the long term use of Antiretroviral, HIV patients are likely to contract cancer of the skin (Kaposi sarcoma), cervical cancer, diabetes, and heart and kidney ailments.
â€œThe dilemma now is how to respond to these challenges,â€ says Aluoch, who is also the Chairman of the Kenya HIV Clinicians Society.
About 400 local and foreign doctors are from today holding a three-day first Annual HIV Clinicians Conference in Nairobi to discuss this new face of HIV.
â€œWe will address the emerging threat of co-morbidities (a condition in which two or more diseases co-exist in the body) and how to successfully treat co-infected patients,â€ says Dr Loice Achieng Ombajo, one of the organisers.
Researchers from the University of Nairobi, SUNY Upstate Medical University of US, Queen Mary University of UK and the Ohio State University, US, had on August 24 published a ten-year evidence linking HIV to an increase of cancer diagnosed at the Kenyatta National Hospital.
The team, led by Dr Emily A Rogena of the UoN, found an increase of cancer of the skin, cervical cancer and conjunctiva in HIV positive people.
The doctors had reviewed the association of HIV to all cancers diagnosed at KNH for the period 2000-2011.
The report revealed an increase in the number and variety of cancers diagnosed at KNH since the scale up of Antiretroviral in 2003.
Before introduction of Antiretroviral, the team says the most dominant HIV-related cancers were cancer of the skin, cancer of the cervix and the vulva.
â€œCancer of the skin, they say is still leading, but conjunctiva is surpassing those of the cervix and the vulva,â€ wrote the researchers. â€œIn Kenya, the trend appears to demonstrate a relative increase in the number of cases and the variety of Aids- related cancers.â€
The experts are now calling upon doctors and those taking care of HIV/Aids patients to be on the lookout for these cancers and apply appropriate treatment strategies â€œCancer is not the only headache among people living with HIV,. A variety of conditions, for instance TB, diabetes, kidney and heart diseases also are,â€ says Aluoch.
The conference seeks to provide solutions on how to manage the increasing number of patients simultaneously affected by several chronic conditions.