STDs, the Colon, Rectum and Anus: Whats My Risk

STD’s.  Less Stigma.  Same Risks.

It is not uncommon for the proctologist, also known as a colon and rectal surgeon or coloproctologist, to see many patients with HIV and AIDS.  These diseases no longer carry the social stigma as in the early days shortly after their discovery. Indeed, these diseases in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood are no different from any city in the country.

In fact, it is somewhat of a triumph of modern therapeutics that the proctologist now sees more patients with “the usual” maladies who also happen to have HIV, rather than seeing patients with HIV related diseases.  Nevertheless, certain HIV-related diseases are still seen and treated.

HIV Related Problems.

The majority of HIV related illnesses are related to infections.  However, this may be a situation similar to the chicken and the egg. Which comes first? For example, do patients acquire anal warts because they have compromised immune systems, or do they first develop the disease (anal warts) and only later acquire HIV?  Or, do both situations apply?

Even on HAART (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy), patients are prone to the development of:

  • Anal cancer.
  • Anal condyloma (anal warts).
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma.
  • Cytomegalovirus  infections (CMV)
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal infections with bacteria or parasites.
  • Anal Herpes

It cannot be stressed strongly enough that HAART medications do not confer a resistance to the development of any of these, or other diseases.  HAART simply boosts the immune systems of patients taking the drugs.

What Is The Risk?

If you are HIV positive, your risk of contracting an infectious disease such as an STD (herpes, anal warts, syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Hepatitis A, B, and C, scabies and others) is similar to the risk in non-HIV infected individuals.  Unprotected, or risky sex is…unprotected or risky sex, no matter your immune status.  Be careful and be mindful.

Other diseases seem to have a higher incidence in HIV positive individuals.  These are:

  • Cytomegalovirus infection.
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma.
  • Lymphoma.
  • Anal cancer (in those with an HPV infection)

HAART

Finally, many diseases cannot be treated successfully if patients needing to be on HAART medications do not take those medications.  In fact, in certain situations, such as in the treatment of anal cancer, the treatment itself may cause death.  Some physicians will actually refuse to begin the treatment for fear of causing the demise of the patient, unless the patient begins or resumes HAART.

What’s The Point?

Sometimes, the development of disease seems random, and sometimes not.  And sometimes the development of disease is not a surprise, as patients are predisposed to developing certain diseases.  Such is the case with HIV.

The following are important:

  • Practice safe sexual practices whether you have HIV or not.
  • If you on HAART medications, do not discontinue them without consulting with your physician.
  • Be prepared to begin, or resume HAART if you require treatment for certain diseases such as anal cancer.
  • Seek the counsel of an experienced proctologist if you are HIV positive and you believe that you have contracted an HIV related colon or anorectal disorder.
  • Seek the counsel of an experienced proctologist if you are HIV negative, you are at risk for having contracted HIV, and you have contracted an HIV related colon or anorectal disorder.

Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Associates.

The experience of the surgeons at Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Associates is invaluable with regard to HIV related disorders and their treatment.  In our offices, there is no stigma associated with treating any illnesses, whether HIV related or not.  All visits are confidential and focus on diagnosis and treatment and the path to health.  Call (310)273-2310 to begin the path to health.