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.