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February 12, 1997

The Prevalence of Serum Antibody to Human Herpesvirus 8 (Kaposi Sarcoma—Associated Herpesvirus) Among HIV-Seropositive and High-Risk HIV-Seronegative Women

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Microbiology and Medicine (Drs Kedes and Ganem), Infectious Diseases Division, Department of Medicine (Ms Ameli and Dr Greenblatt), and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Dr Bacchetti), University of California, San Francisco; and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, San Francisco (Dr Ganem).

JAMA. 1997;277(6):478-481. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540300046032

Objective.  —To determine the prevalence of human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) seropositivity among women who are known to be infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) or who are at high risk for HIV infection.

Design.  —A cross-sectional and blinded study of the prevalence of serological reactivity to HHV-8 infection as determined by an indirect immunofluorescence assay using nuclei from cells latently infected with HHV-8. Data and specimens were collected at baseline assessments of a longitudinal natural history cohort study.

Setting.  —Four San Francisco Bay Area outpatient HIV specialty clinics participating in the cohort study.

Patients.  —A total of 387 participants in the Women's Interagency HIV Study whose HIV infection status was documented and serum was available in a local specimen repository.

Main Outcome Measure.  —Serological reactivity to HHV-8.

Results.  —Serological reactivity to latent HHV-8 antigens was uncommon among study participants: 13 (3.4%) demonstrated serum antibodies. HHV-8 reactivity was more common among HIV-infected women; 12 (4.0%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.1%-6.9%) of the 302 HIV-infected participants vs 1 (1.2%; 95% CI, 0.03%-6.4%) of the 84 HIV-uninfected participants were seropositive for HHV-8, though the difference did not attain statistical significance (odds ratio=3.43; 95% CI, 0.49-148.6). Two of the HIV-infected women had Kaposi sarcoma lesions and both were seropositive.

Conclusions.  —The prevalence of HHV-8 seropositivity among the group of HIV-infected women was dramatically lower than that recently reported among HIV-infected homosexual and bisexual men (30%-35%). This finding parallels the lower prevalence of Kaposi sarcoma among women in contrast to men with HIV infection. These data further extend the correlation of HHV-8 serological reactivity with risk of Kaposi sarcoma and are consistent with an important role for HHV-8 infection in development of Kaposi sarcoma.