HIV-Positive Men With HHV-8 Coinfection Face Increased Risk of Developing Kaposi’s Sarcoma, Study Says
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).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.