Objective: To describe the presentation and incidence of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) in a cohort of women infected with HIV and to compare their clinical characteristics with men at the same institution.
Design: Retrospective chart and database review.
Setting: Adult clinical AIDS program outpatient clinics at a municipal teaching hospital.
Results: One hundred and seven people with KS were found of whom twelve (11.2%) were women. The prevalence of KS in women was 3.6% compared with 9.9% among men (P < 0.001). Women born outside the United States were at increased risk of developing KS (P < 0.05). At initial KS presentation, no difference in HIV stage or CD4 count was found between men and women. Women presented with more advanced KS than men, with increased incidence of non-cutaneous disease (P < 0.001), lymphedema (P < 0.0001), lymph-node disease (P < 0.0001) and visceral disease (P = 0.03). Women had decreased survival after KS diagnosis compared to men, although the difference was not significant (P = 0.41).
Conclusions: KS is not a rare diagnosis in HIV-infected women followed at our institution. Although the increased risk of KS in men is most likely to be related to differences in exposure, the sex-related differences in presentation and course may be due in part to delay in diagnosis. KS should be considered in the spectrum of HIV-related complications in women as well as in men.