Anal dysplasia is most commonly linked to HPV which is considered the most common sexually-transmitted infection. Roughly 80% of people who have had one or two lifetime sex partners and 100% of people who have had five lifetime sex partners have had HPV infection, thus HPV is extremely prevalent, particularly in young, sexually active populations. This original infection may resolve itself or may persist for life.
Anal dysplasia is a pre-cancerous condition which occurs when the mucosa lining of the anal canal undergo abnormal changes. During this condition, lesions or visible pattern of clustered abnormal cells appear. These cells may then progress from low-grade lesions to high-grade lesions.
Symptoms include genital and or anal warts in and around the anus. In some patients abnormalities in the lining of that anal region can occur without the presence of warts and any other symptoms.
Anal cancer, like cervical cancer, is a member of a broader group of anogenital cancers known to be associated with sexually transmitted viral HPV infection. Anal cancer is rare in the general population but it is significantly more common in the HIV infected population, specifically in HIV-positive homosexual and bisexual men. Unfortunately, the risk for anal cancer is reported to be increasing dramatically in HIV-positive males and females, particularly since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy in the mid-1990s. This is because people are living longer and some may continue to get newly exposed to other HPV viral strains.