AIDS/HIV-Related Cancers

According to the National Cancer Institute, there are certain cancer types that are more likely to occur in people who are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The most common types are Kaposi's sarcoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Other AIDS-related cancers include Hodgkin's disease and cancers of the lung, mouth, cervix and digestive system:

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS)  – a skin cancer caused by the Human Herpes Virus 8 (HHV8) or Kaposi’s sarcoma virus (KSHV). HHV8 infects cells that line blood vessel walls and causes these cells to become cancerous. Eventually these cells cause blood vessel walls to leak blood into surrounding tissue and violet skin lesions result. KS can spread to the mouth, lungs and other internal organs.
  • Lymphomas –  a group of cancers that affect white blood cells called lymphocytes.  Lymphomas cause enlargement of lymph nodes and can involve the brain, other internal organs and the bone marrow. This cancer, like KS, can be caused by viruses like the Epstein Barr virus (EBV). 
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) – positive cancers like cervical, anal, or head and neck cancer  also occur more frequently in HIV-positive patients compared to HIV-negative people.
  • Non AIDS-Defining Cancers – colon cancer, lung cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma and skin cancer also occur more often in HIV positive patients.  

Other cancers such as colon and lung cancer are also seen with much higher incidence in people with HIV.  

To learn more, download our HIV and Cancer: What is the Link? PDF


The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) 460 W. 10th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210 Phone: 1-800-293-5066 | Email: