Background: Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) infection is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa. We examined sociodemographic, behavioral, and biological factors associated with HHV-8 infection in children and adults to determine HHV-8 seroprevalence and potential routes of transmission.
Methods: Participants were 1383 children and 1477 adults from a population-based sample in a rural community in Uganda. Serum samples were tested for HHV-8 antibodies with use of an enzyme immunoassay against K8.1.
Results: HHV-8 seroprevalence increased from 16% among children aged 1.5-2 years to 32% among children aged 10-13 years (P <.001) and from 37% among participants aged 14-19 years to 49% among adults aged ≥ 50 years (P <.05). HHV-8 seropositivity in children was independently associated with residing with a seropositive parent (P < .001) and residing with ≥ 1 other seropositive child aged <14 years (P < .001). History of sharing food and/or sauce plates was marginally associated with HHV-8 infection in children (P = .05). Among 1404 participants aged ≥ 15 years , there was no association between correlates of sexual behavior (eg, number of lifetime sex partners and HIV infection) and HHV-8 seropositivity (P > .10).
Conclusions: Our data suggest that HHV-8 is acquired primarily through horizontal transmission in childhood from intrafamilial contacts and that transmission continues into adulthood potentially through nonsexual routes.