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What does KS look like? Does my partner have it?
Jan 21, 2002

What does KS look like in the early stages and how soon in HIV infection is one likely to see it? My partner has developed several irregularly shaped dark brown spots on his chest recently, he is on HAART and while his viral level is not undetectable, it is remaining below 1000.

Response from Dr. Dezube

Permit me to re-run my response from Sept 16, 2001. It's applicable to your query--

In the past months or so, I have receive about 30 queries which describe pigmented lesions, stretch marks, pimples and so on and so on. Some describe red lesions, others purple or brown lesions, and others lesions that either do or do not blanch (turn white). Some of the queries are from HIV + folks, some from HIV - folks. They all ask the same question. What do I think? Is it cancer? Is it KS?

Basically there is no way to know whether a lesion is KS or not without a biopsy. KS is a disease which is really diagnosed by a pathologist looking at a biopsy specimen under the microscope. If you go to a clinician who sees alot of KS, (s)he can certainly give you a presumptive diagnosis. There are however many, many different skin conditions which can cause lesions. KS is unlikely in HIV negative folks, though it can occur.

If you really are concerned that you have KS (and I'm referring to all thirty of you who have written to me), then first get HIV tested. You need to know. If you are HIV negative, then mostly likely you do not have KS. If you are HIV positive and have a pigmented lesion, then by all means get this checked out. Most KS lesions can be readily dealt with. There is no reason to agonize about this. The sooner you get seen, the sooner it can be taken care of.

So many of you query this site when it comes to lesions because of fear of the unknown, fear of seeking medical care, and so on. I urge all of you to get that lesion evaluated if it's driving you crazy. Don't lose any more sleep over it.

Best of Luck. BD.


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