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Editorial Review
December 2000

AIDS-Related Kaposi SarcomaThe Role of Local Therapy for a Systemic Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Mass.

Arch Dermatol. 2000;136(12):1554-1556. doi:10.1001/archderm.136.12.1554

Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is the most common tumor that occurs in patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and is an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)–defining illness according to the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the United States, KS is over 20,000 times more common in people with AIDS than in the general population and over 300 times more common than in other immunosuppressed patients such as renal transplant recipients.1 Although KS has been reported among all risk groups for HIV infection, it is more common in homosexual or bisexual men. As reported to the CDC, KS occurs in roughly 20% of HIV-infected homosexual men, a sharp contrast when compared with the occurrence of KS in 3% of heterosexual intravenous drug users, 3% of transfusion recipients, 3% of women or children, and 1% of hemophiliacs. It is important to stress that, although KS is a reportable manifestation of AIDS, it is generally not reported to the CDC if it occurs after the initial report of AIDS so these percentages more likely represent underreporting.

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