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BMC Infect Dis. 2007 Dec 5;7:143.

Incidence of human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) infection among HIV-uninfected individuals at high risk for sexually transmitted infections.

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Struttura Complessa di Dermatologia Infettiva, Istituto Dermatologico San Gallicano (IRCCS), Rome, Italy.



The occurrence of, and risk factors for, HHV-8 infection have yet to be definitively determined, particularly among heterosexual individuals with at-risk behavior for sexually transmitted infections (STI). The objective of this study was to estimate the incidence and determinants of HHV-8 infection among HIV-uninfected individuals repeatedly attending an urban STI clinic.


Sera from consecutive HIV-uninfected individuals repeatedly tested for HIV-1 antibodies were additionally tested for HHV-8 antibodies using an immunofluorescence assay. To identify determinants of HHV-8 infection, a nested case-control study and multivariate logistic regression analysis were performed.


Sera from 456 HIV-uninfected individuals (224 multiple-partner heterosexuals and 232 men who have sex with men (MSM]) were identified for inclusion in the study. The HHV-8 seroprevalence at enrollment was 9.4% (21/224; 95% C.I.: 6.0-14.2%) among heterosexuals with multiple partners and 22.0% (51/232; 95% C.I.: 16.9-28.0%) among MSM. Among the 203 multiple-partner heterosexuals and 181 MSM who were initially HHV-8-negative, 17 (IR = 3.0/100 p-y, 95% C.I.: 1.9 - 4.8) and 21 (IR = 3.3/100 p-y, 95% C.I:.2.1 - 5.1) seroconversions occurred, respectively. HHV-8 seroconversion tended to be associated with a high number of sexual partners during the follow-up among MSM (> 10 partners: AOR = 3.32 95% CI:0.89-12.46) and among the multiple-partner heterosexuals (> 10 partner; AOR = 3.46, 95% CI:0.42-28.2). Moreover, among MSM, HHV-8 seroconversion tended to be associated with STI (AOR = 1.80 95%CI: 0.52-7.96). During the study period the HIV-1 incidence was lower than that of HHV-8 among both groups (0.89/100 p-y among MSM and 0.95/100 p-y among multiple-partner heterosexuals).


The large difference between the incidence of HHV-8 and the incidence of HIV-1 and other STIs may suggest that the circulation of HHV-8 is sustained by practices other than classical at-risk sexual behavior.

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