Copyright 2002 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2002
To the Editor: Dr Osmond and colleagues1 noted the lack of consensus as to the route of
KSHV transmission in homosexual men. Recent studies1-3
have suggested that KSHV, also known as human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), is primarily
transmitted among homosexual men through deep kissing or oral sex. While this
hypothesis is consistent with much of the data, it fails to explain why HHV-8
is much more prevalent in homosexual than in heterosexual men, since deep
kissing and oral sex are common in both groups. Nor can differences in HHV-8
prevalence be solely attributed to numbers of sex partners, because even commercial
sex workers have a lower prevalence of HHV-8 than do homosexual men.4 Thus, the higher prevalence of HHV-8 among homosexual
men may be related to sexual practices, such as anal sex, that are more prevalent
among this population. Several findings of Osmond et al are consistent with
Cannon MJ, Pellett PE. Relationship Between Kaposi Sarcoma–Associated Herpesvirus and HIV. JAMA. 2002;287(12):1525–1528. doi:10.1001/jama.287.12.1523
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