By Riva Preil
Recently, the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology overturned a previous decision which forbade obstetrician-gynecologists from treating male patients for sexually transmitted infections and to screen them for anal cancer. The previous decision which was made in September put any physicians who did not follow the rule at risk of losing their license. This interfered with their ability to continue treating current patients and to conduct research that was currently underway. Therefore, experts in anal cancer requested that the board change their original decision. Fortunately, Dr. Kenneth L. Noller, the board’s director of evaluation, recognized that ob-gyns are trained to treat sexually transmitted infections in both males and females. This includes human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus that is associated with both cervical and anal cancer (which is more common amongst individuals with HIV). Now that ob-gyns are permitted to resume treatment of their male patients, men can continue receiving the medical care that they too deserve. Hopefully, improved screening techniques will result from the continued research in this area.