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Sex Transm Dis. 2008 Dec;35(12):1011-4. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e318182c91f.

Awareness of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus among men who have sex with men.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA.



Despite burgeoning scientific knowledge about Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), the etiologic agent of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), little is known about awareness of this virus in the general community. This is particularly the case for men who have sex with men (MSM), the group at greatest risk for infection.


The California Health Interview Survey was a random digit- dial survey of over 50,000 households. Men aged 18 to 64 years who self-identified as gay or bisexual were subsequently recontacted for a follow-up study of HIV-related knowledge and behavior in which they were asked if they had heard of KS and to describe the cause of KS.


Of 398 MSM interviewed, 73.0% (95% CI 65.0-79.7) had heard of KS. However, only 6.4% (95% CI 4.4-9.2) of participants correctly identified that KS is caused by KSHV or a virus other than HIV. Postgraduate education, urban residence, and concurrent HIV infection were all independently associated with greater awareness of the viral origin of KS.


Awareness of KSHV is very low, overall, among MSM and only somewhat higher, but still unacceptably low, among HIV-infected MSM. Significant efforts are needed to increase awareness of KSHV as a sexually transmitted infection in this population.

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