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Can I get Kaposi's sarcoma from a woman?
Dec 24, 2001

I am a straight male. I would like to know if it is likely to get Kaposi's sarcoma from a woman?

Response from Dr. Dezube

Kaposi's sarcoma is caused by the Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (also known as human herpes virus-8, HHV8). It is mostly found in the oral cavity (saliva). HHV8 is a pretty common virus, particulary among gay men (either HIV+ or HIV-). It would be unusual to get KS from a woman, but certainly not impossible. If the woman has a case of KS (i.e. not just the HHV8 virus, but KS disease), then the likelihood is higher that she can transmit it to you. One more important point is that it not only depends on the woman, but also on you. If you are a straight male who is HIV+, then you are more likely to catch the HHV8 virus, than a straight HIV- male. This is because HIV+ individuals are more susceptible to a variety of infections including HHV8.

One last point is that HHV8 is transmitted more by deep (French) kissing than by vaginal/anal sex. This is in stark contrast to the HIV virus which is transmitted more by vaginal/anal sex than by deep kissing.

This is a lengthy and perhaps confusing reply. The answer to your query is anything but straight-forward. The simple answer is that KS transmission from a woman is unlikely, but not impossible. BD


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