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Can I be tested for HHV8, the virus which causes KS? Is it worth it to be tested?
May 18, 2003

Is there a test or any other way of telling whether you have the virus that causes KS (ie. HHV-8)?

Response from Dr. Dezube

There is no easy-to-find commercial test to find out if you have HHV-8, the virus which causes KS. However, some firms will perform this test as a research tool. Usually insurance companies will not cover the cost of such testing.

I would NOT recommend that you or anyone be tested for HHV-8. I say this because I have no idea how this will help with your management. If you have a lesion suspicious for KS, then a much better way to find out would be to have the lesion biopsied. In that way you would know for sure. Furthermore HHV-8 is a relatively common virus, particularly among gay men. The vast majority of folks who are HHV-8 positive do NOT have Kaposi's sarcoma. In other words, even if you were to have the virus, this does not mean that you will get any disease from the virus.


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