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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

Antibodies Against Human Herpesvirus 8 in Black South African


New England Journal of Medicine Vol. 340, No. 24, P. 1863

Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) has been linked to Kaposi's sarcoma, but factors involved in transmission, relationships with other cancers, and its interaction with HIV-1 are undefined. Using logistic-regression models, researchers investigated the relationship between sociodemographic factors, behavioral factors, type of cancer, and the presence or absence of HIV-1. Subjects were interviewed and their blood was tested for antibodies against HIV-1 and HHV-8. Investigators found that the prevalence of HHV-8 antibodies increased with age and number of sexual partners and decreased with greater education. The seroprevalence of antibodies against HHV-8 was 83 percent in those with Kaposi's sarcoma, significantly higher than the 32 percent seroprevalence in those with other cancers. The authors concluded that among black patients with cancer in South Africa, high seroprevalence of HHV-8 antibodies, especially at high titers, is associated with Kaposi's Sarcoma.


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Information in this article was accurate in June 17, 1999. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.