Lia Koski

HIV and HIV-related Malignancies in Tanzania

Located in Sub-Saharan Africa, Tanzania experiences an extremely high prevalence of HIV, with an estimated 5.6% of adults living with HIV in 2009. The high prevalence of HIV in Tanzania corresponds to a high burden of HIV-related cancers, such as non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma and anal cancer. Kaposi’s sarcoma, in particular, is extremely prevalent in this region, accounting for an estimated 12.3% of all cancer deaths. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is estimated to account for 5.4% of all cancer deaths. Physicians at Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI), which is located in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, have suspected a possible decrease in prevalence and mortality of people diagnosed with various HIV-related malignancies at the hospital. This suspected trend is most likely due to the introduction of, and increased access to, highly active anti-retroviral treatments; however, these conclusions have not been determined at ORCI. This study aims to integrate and compile data on HIV and HIV-related malignancies, from both the ORCI and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW), and determine the pattern of proportion changes in HIV-related malignancies over the past 7 years. Collecting and compiling this data will provide ORCI with a more current, comprehensive and accurate database of HIV-related cancers.

This study is a secondary analysis with a retrospective design. After compiling abstracted medical record data of all HIV-related cases (Kaposi’s sarcoma, lymphoma, and anal cancer) from 2005 to 2011 at ORCI, the proportion of each HIV-related malignancy will be determined for each corresponding year. Variables to be included in the database: patient demographic information (age, sex, region of residence, etc.), place of diagnosis and type of cancer, HIV status, cancer and HIV treatment details and follow-up information. Cross-referencing these records with the patient’s records at MOHSW will be done and information will be collected to confirm patient HIV status and treatment. Whether changes are observed in the proportion of these HIV-related cases, further analysis could be conducted at ORCI to assess reasons for these changes by examining variables compiled in the database. This would include determining possible risk factors, assessing treatment and prevention interventions and where to best allocate resources to implement control programs to mitigate the burden of HIV-related malignancies at ORCI and in the country.

About Lia
Lia attended Central Michigan University and obtained a degree in Biomedical Science, with minors in Chemistry and Spanish. After graduating in 2009, Lia committed to a long-term volunteer program in Santiago, Chile, where she gained public health experience working with governmental and non-governmental organizations in the areas of domestic violence, health education and HIV/AIDS. Lia graduated from the University of Michigan with an MPH in International Health/ Epidemiology in 2013.