Research Project: Incidence and management of cervical pre-cancers and cancers among HIV-positive women in Ontario

Year(s): 2016-2018

Dr. Nisha Andany is working towards a career as an academic Infectious Diseases specialist with a focus on preventative medicine and co-infections within the HIV-positive population.

“Because my undergraduate degree was in health sciences, I have a strong interest in preventative medicine.” Through studies dealing with HIV-positive women that she worked while at medical school, she also developed “an interest in the areas of co-infections and prevention, specifically within HIV-positive individuals.”

Her current research is focused on the incidence and management of cervical pre-cancers and cancers among HIV-positive women. “Cervical dysplasia and cancer, caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), is a significant health burden among women, despite the fact that it is preventable with proper screening. Screening is essential for all women, but especially for women living with HIV.”

Cervical dysplasia and cancer are more common and aggressive in women with HIV due to the impairment of their immune system. Dr. Andany’s work will seek to study access to and rates of cancer screening and follow-up for HIV-positive women in Ontario. It aims to estimate the annual incidence of cervical cancer and address the gap in knowledge needed to create screening guidelines for HIV-positive women.

Dr. Andany earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree at the University of Waterloo before completing her Doctor of Medicine and specialty certifications in General Internal Medicine and Adult Infectious Diseases at the University of Toronto. She was a research student at both the Women’s College Research Institute and the Mount Sinai Hospital, both in Toronto. Dr. Mona Loutfy (Women’s College Research Institute) will supervise her postdoctoral fellowship.