The seroepidemiology of human herpesvirus 8 (Kaposi's sarcoma–associated herpesvirus): Distribution of infection in KS risk groups and evidence for sexual transmission

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Abstract

Striking differences in Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) risk for AIDS patients who acquire HIV via homosexual activity and those whose HIV infections derive from blood product exposure suggest the presence of a sexually transmitted agent other than HIV in the development of KS. Using an immunofluorescence assay, we examined serum samples from 913 patients for the presence of antibody specific for infection by human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8), an agent whose genome is regularly found in KS tissue. The distribution of HHV8 seropositivity conforms to that expected for a sexually transmitted pathogen and tracks closely with the risk for KS development. Our data support the inference that this virus is the etiologic cofactor predicted by the epidemiology of KS.

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