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Help me understand the cause of KS
Apr 20, 2002

I read a doctor's statement on another site that said, "the few women who have developed KS have been sexual partners of bisexual men." Do you think this statement is unequivocably true? Is KS rare in women whether they are on meds or not? Thanks for helping, Dr. Dezube.

Response from Dr. Dezube

The principal cause of KS is the Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus, also known as human herpesvirus-8 (HHV8). Other factors which contribute to KS are inflammation, new blood vessel formation, degree of immunodeficiency (weakened immune system). It is indeed true that KS is seen more commonly in HIV-infected gay men than in HIV-infected women. It is also true that HIV-infected women with KS are more likely to have acquired their HIV infection from bisexual men than from intravenous drugs. I avoid words such as "unequivocably true" since there are ALWAYS exceptions to rule. In general, however, KS in women in the developed countries is a bit unusual, though not rare. In the 3rd world (e.g. Sub-Saharan Africa), KS in women is much more common of a problem.

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