People who had low recent CD4 counts, high recent viral loads, or who had higher average viral loads over time had the highest risk of developing Kaposi sarcoma, according to a study published this month in JAIDS. By analyzing medical data from thousands of people living with HIV across many years, a team of researchers were able to develop a mathematical model of factors independently associated with Kaposi sarcoma (KS, an opportunistic cancer characteristic of AIDS).
They found that a person's most recent CD4 count, their most recent viral load count, and a cumulative measure of viral load over time were independent risk factors for developing KS. Previous research has identified associations between CD4 count, viral load and KS risk, but this is one of the only studies to make conclusions about risk based on a comprehensive examination of both recent and cumulative measures and a relatively large sample size.
The researchers included data from 77,696 people from the U.S. and Canada in the North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design, who were followed between 1996 and 2009. The majority of people in the study were male (85%).
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