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The value of a clinical definition for epidemic KS in predicting HIV seropositivity in Africa.

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  • 1Uganda Cancer Institute, Makerere University, Kampala.


Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) in African adults can present in endemic (non-HIV-related) and epidemic (HIV-related) forms. We evaluated the usefulness of a clinical case definition for epidemic KS in predicting HIV seropositivity. A total of 235 patients with KS presenting to the Uganda Cancer Institute from January 1, 1988 to March 31, 1990 were evaluated with history and physical examination. Symptomatic patients underwent chest radiography and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. One hundred seventy-four patients (80%) underwent HIV ELISA testing with Western blot confirmation. The clinical case definition had a 91% sensitivity and a 95% specificity in predicting HIV seropositivity. Oral KS was the most sensitive specific site of involvement in predicting HIV seropositivity. The clinical case definition is useful in assessing patients to determine prognosis and likelihood of responding to aggressive therapy.

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