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N Engl J Med. 1998 Apr 2;338(14):948-54.

Sexual transmission and the natural history of human herpesvirus 8 infection.

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  • 1Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, San Francisco General Hospital, CA, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) has been suspected to be the etiologic agent of Kaposi's sarcoma, little is known about its seroprevalence in the population, its modes of transmission, and its natural history.

METHODS:

The San Francisco Men's Health Study, begun in 1984, is a study of a population-based sample of men in an area with a high incidence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. We studied all 400 men infected at base line with HIV and a sample of 400 uninfected men. Base-line serum samples were assayed for antibodies to HHV-8 latency-associated nuclear antigen (anti-LANA). In addition to the seroprevalence and risk factors for anti-LANA seropositivity, we analyzed the time to the development of Kaposi's sarcoma.

RESULTS:

Anti-LANA antibodies were found in 223 of 593 men (37.6 percent) who reported any homosexual activity in the previous five years and in none of 195 exclusively heterosexual men. Anti-LANA seropositivity correlated with a history of sexually transmitted diseases and had a linear association with the number of male sexual-intercourse partners. Among the men who were infected with both HIV and HHV-8 at base line, the 10-year probability of Kaposi's sarcoma was 49.6 percent. Base-line anti-LANA seropositivity preceded and was independently associated with subsequent Kaposi's sarcoma, even after adjustment for CD4 cell counts and the number of homosexual partners.

CONCLUSIONS:

The prevalence of HHV-8 infection is high among homosexual men, correlates with the number of homosexual partners, and is temporally and independently associated with Kaposi's sarcoma. These observations are further evidence that HHV-8 has an etiologic role in Kaposi's sarcoma and is sexually transmitted among men.

PMID:
9521982
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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