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Sex Health. 2013 Mar;10(1):9-17. doi: 10.1071/SH11135.

Anal cytological abnormalities are poor predictors of high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia amongst HIV-positive men who have sex with men.

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Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre, Parramatta, NSW, Australia.



Although anal squamous cell carcinomas (ASCC) are rare in the general community, rates of ASCC among HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) approach those of major cancers in the general community, such as colorectal and lung cancers. Anal cytology and high-resolution anoscopy (HRA) have been proposed as methods for the diagnosis of high-grade anal intraepithelial neoplasia (HGAIN), the precursor of ASCC. To determine the prevalence of anal disease among HIV-positive MSM, we investigated anal cytological and histological findings in men from a large HIV clinic in Sydney, Australia.


This was a single-centre study conducted between October 2008 and January 2010. Participants self-collected cytology specimens, and those yielding abnormal cytology results of atypical cells of undetermined significance, atypical cells of undetermined significance - possibly high-grade (ASC-H) and high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL) were offered HRA. In addition, of those yielding low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions results, a systematically selected group (25%) were offered HRA.


Of the 1339 HIV-positive MSM who attended the clinic during the study period, 291 (31.8%) were finally included in the study, 262 yielded technically satisfactory cytological results and 101 (36.7%) participants underwent HRA. HGAIN was identified in 55 (54.5%) of the 101 men undergoing HRA. HGAIN was diagnosed in 28 (52.7%) without cytological ASC-H or HSIL results.


Despite the poor correlation between anal cytological and histological findings, high levels of HGAIN were identified in HIV-positive MSM attending this clinical service.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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