The prevalence of serum antibody to human herpesvirus 8 (Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus) among HIV-seropositive and high-risk HIV-seronegative women

JAMA. 1997 Feb 12;277(6):478-81.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Cell Line
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • HIV Seronegativity / immunology*
  • HIV Seropositivity / complications
  • HIV Seropositivity / immunology
  • HIV Seropositivity / virology*
  • HIV-1 / immunology
  • Herpesvirus 8, Human / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / epidemiology
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / immunology
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / virology*
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Sex Factors


  • Antibodies, Viral