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KS and time frame of HIV infection?
May 27, 2001

I was wondering if you had any idea of the time frame between initial HIV infection and the appearance of Karposis Sarcoma? Is this a later symptom of the disease or does it occur early on? Thank you very much and I appreciate the assistance you are providing.

Response from Dr. Dezube

Kaposi's sarcoma can occur at ANY time during the course of HIV infection. There is NO magic CD4 count number, above which one is safe from KS. This is quite different than say PCP pneumonia (which typically occurs when CD4 < 200) or CMV retinitis (which typically occurs when CD4 < 50). Although KS is typically more aggressive in patients with low CD4 counts and high viral loads, this is not always the case. I've seen patients with aggressive KS despite having a CD4 count of 900 and an absent viral load, and likewise I've seen patients with very quiet KS despite a low CD4 count and high viral load. Virtually all patients with AIDS-related KS should be taking highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART). HAART therapy both causes regression (shrinkage) of existing KS lesions and can block new lesions from forming.

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