Cervical cancer among HIV+ women on the increase – official

• Cancer registry to be set up A medical expert with Women’s Equity in Access to Care and Treatment (WE-ACTx), a non-government organization, Dr. Eugene Mutimura, yesterday revealed that there are more cases of cervical cancer infection among HIV positive women. According to Dr.Mutimira, this organization came to Rwanda with the major aim of increasing access to anti-retroviral therapy but also started cervical cancer screening at the request of the health ministry.

• Cancer registry to be set up

A medical expert with Women’s Equity in Access to Care and Treatment (WE-ACTx), a non-government organization, Dr. Eugene Mutimura, yesterday revealed that there are more cases of cervical cancer infection among HIV positive women.

According to Dr.Mutimira, this organization came to Rwanda with the major aim of increasing access to anti-retroviral therapy but also started cervical cancer screening at the request of the health ministry.

“To-date WE-ACTx has screened 3017 women, 1706 HIV-negative women and 1311 HIV-infected women from Jabana and Nduba sectors of Nyacyonga Public health Centre, as well as those from the WE-ACTx clinic and other HIV clinics in Kigali.

“Studies show that the virus (human papilloma virus) which causes this cancer is 9% common in HIV-negative and 32% in HIV-infected adult women,” he said.

Mutimura highlighted that resources to screen and treat this cancer are few citing that the cancer burden in Rwanda is also increased by the lack of an established cancer registry to track cancer cases.

“We are set to re-develop a cancer registry very soon. It will be in Kigali and the southern province,” he said.

The Director of scientific capacity building at WE-ACTx based in the US, Dr. Kathryn Anastos, said that capacity building is vital for effectiveness of this registry.

“Activities to train three cancer registrars have started and this is provided by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC),” she said.

The capacity building initiatives are also supported by the AIDS International Training and Research Program (AITRP) with assistance of Dr. Prasad Vinayaka of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, University of Yeshiva, New York. 

Anastos noted that the cancer registry will be population-based in areas served by referral hospitals like King Faisal Hospital, Kigali-based CHUK and CHUB in the southern province.

Officials add that this pilot project allow better understanding of the impact of ARVs on AIDS-related incidence as well as low AIDS-related cancer identification.

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