August 22, 2003
HIV-positive individuals who are also infected with the human herpesvirus type 8 could face an increased risk of developing Kaposi's Sarcoma, according to a study published in the Aug. 15 issue of the journal AIDS, Reuters Health reports (Reuters Health, 8/20). KS, a skin disease that has been linked to lymph-related disorders and a rare cancer, is not necessarily fatal and was especially prevalent among HIV-positive gay men during the early years of the AIDS epidemic (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/9/02). National Cancer Institute researchers tested a cohort of 132 HIV-positive homosexual men in New York and Washington, D.C., for HHV-8 antibodies and determined the men's CD4+ T cell counts (Engels et al., AIDS, 8/15). Researchers followed the men for several years, collecting blood samples each year. During the course of the study, 31 of the participants developed AIDS-associated KS (Reuters Health, 8/20). According the study, KS incidence was highest among men who tested positive for HHV-8 antibodies and had low CD4+ T cell counts (AIDS, 8/15). According to the researchers, HIV-positive men who tested positive for HHV-8 were nearly 12 times more likely to develop KS than men who did not test positive for HHV-8. The researchers concluded that men with HHV-8 should be treated with antiviral drugs to help prevent KS (Reuters Health, 8/20).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2003 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.