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J Infect Dis. 1997 Jul;176(1):94-102.

Frequent detection of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (human herpesvirus 8) DNA in saliva of human immunodeficiency virus-infected men: clinical and immunologic correlates.

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Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, USA.


The prevalence, quantity, temporal pattern, and clinical and immunologic correlates of shedding of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS)-associated herpesvirus (KSHV; or human herpesvirus [HHV]-8) DNA in saliva were studied. KSHV DNA was detected in saliva from 18 (75%) of 24 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive patients with KS and from 1 of 1 HIV-negative patient with KS, 3 (15%) of 20 HIV-positive patients without KS, and none of 24 controls. KSHV DNA levels ranged from 10(2.4) to 10(6) copies/mL and were lower than levels for Epstein-Barr virus but comparable to those for HHV-6. Detection of KSHV DNA in saliva was not associated with oral KS or decreased peripheral blood CD4 cell counts. KSHV DNA was not detected in semen. Resistance of KSHV DNA from saliva to DNase treatment was consistent with the presence of virions. These data suggest that KSHV can replicate in the oropharynx and that salivary contact could contribute to KSHV transmission.

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