Black patients who have HIV and Hodgkin lymphoma may be at a higher risk than white patients of not receiving treatment for the cancer that in many cases would be effective, according to a study published in AIDS.

The study, from researchers at Brown University and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, identified the racial disparity in data from nearly 2,100 cases in the National Cancer Data Base between 2004 and 2012.

The researchers noted that HIV-negative people had an 80% Hodgkin lymphoma survival rate five years after diagnosis, but HIV-positive people survived at a rate of only 66% over the same study period. Among HIV-positive patients, 16% went untreated. 

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Further statistical analysis showed that one of the main risk factors for an HIV-positive person going untreated was being black. Statistically adjusting for possibly confounding factors, HIV-positive blacks were 67% more likely than HIV-positive whites to go untreated for lymphoma. Other risk factors, which are often related to race, were low income and lacking health insurance. Another was being older than 60 years of age.

The researchers acknowledged in a prepared statement about the study that it was not clear how the racial disparity arises.


1. Olszewski AJ, Castillo JJ. Outcomes of HIV-associated Hodgkin lymphoma in the era of antiretroviral therapy. AIDS, 2016; 1 DOI: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000986.