Objective: To ascertain the prevalence of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), also known as human herpesvirus (HHV) type 8, and cytomegalovirus (CMV) DNA in semen was investigated.
Methods: Amplification by nested polymerase chain reaction was used to detect viral DNA sequences in samples from 24 HIV-infected gay men, 15 of them with Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), and 115 healthy donors.
Results: Six of the 24 HIV-infected patients had detectable HHV-8 DNA in their semen: three of the 15 patients with KS and three of the nine patients without KS. CMV DNA was detected in 20 semen samples from HIV-infected patients. None of the semen samples from healthy donors had detectable HHV-8 DNA and rates of CMV DNA detection were low (3%).
Conclusions: The study demonstrates the presence of HHV-8 in semen from HIV-infected individuals with, or at risk, of developing KS and the potential for sexual transmission of the virus. We found no evidence of HHV-8 in the semen of HIV-uninfected donors.