Blokes with Anal Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions (BASIL)

Since the introduction of Highly Active Retroviral Therapy in 1996, individuals infected with HIV have been living longer, healthier lives. As a consequence, there has been a marked decrease in the incidence of most AIDs-defining cancers such as Kaposi's Sarcoma. However, this is not the case for anal cancer, which now occurs at rates of over 50 times that of the general community.

The introduction of a cervical screening program in Australia in 1991 has been associated with a dramatic decrease in the morbidity and mortality of patients presenting with cervical cancer. Leon's project will help see whether this tremendous Public Health gain can be extended to people at risk of anal cancer. He will evaluate the acceptability and usefulness of anal cytological screening in the detection of anal cancers and pre-cancers.

This study will screen 1000 HIV positive men who have sex with men, attending an outpatient clinic in Sydney. In addition to validating the usefulness of anal cytology to detect precancerous lesions, the study will also collect demographic and behavioural data to help gain a better understanding of factors that may contribute to the development of anal cancer.

As of June 2011, 291 participants have been screen as part of the study. All data have been collected, recorded and analysed. Leon is currently writing up his findings and has published three papers to date. Data from the study have also been presented at several national and international studies.

The project is due to be completed in 2011.

For more information Leon can be contacted via

Leon Botes

Dr Leon Botes has worked in Sexual Health and HIV/AIDs in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. He has also worked for the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research and completed his Masters in Health Science (Sexual Health) at the University of Sydney in 2005. Since then, Leon has been a tutor on the online learning Postgraduate Program in Sexual Health.

  • Hillman RJ, Pett S, Marriott D, Carr A, Cooper DA, Matthews G, Brew BJ, Milliken S, Botes LP. Participants’ perspectives of High Resolution Anoscopy. Sex Health 2011; 8(2):257-8 [abstract]
  • Botes LP, Jin F, Bourne C, Pett S, Marriott D, Carr A, Cooper DA, Matthews G, Brew BJ, Hillman RJ. Participants’ perspectives of self-collected anal cytological swabs. Sexual Health 2011; 8(2):255-6 [abstract]
  • Botes LP, McAllister J, Ribbons E, Jin F, Hillman RJ. Significant increase in testing rates for sexually transmissible infections following the introduction of an anal cytology screening program, targeting HIV positive men who have sex with men (MSM). Sex Health 2011; 8(4): 76-8 [abstract]