August #38 : Stuck in the Riddle

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Table of Contents

Tales of the City

Ask Amelio


The Mere Future

Record Time


The American People

Switching Channels

Takin’ It to the Streets

Have A Ball

The Grass Is Greener


To the Editor

Pass the AZT

Deadly Dad

Stuck in the Riddle

Survey Says...

Let’s Talk About Sex

Name Game

Vive la France!

Gets His Goat

Going Downtown? Dam It

Dr. Dementia

Voices Carry


And Now For Something Entirely Fiction

Tita Aida

Death Becomes Her

In the Hot Seat

Oh, Viagra!

You Can’t Take It With You

Clean and Sober

Know Your Writes

Pills, Chills and Thrills

TB or not TB

Move It!

Risky When Rushed

It’s All About the Journal

Heart of the Matter

Stink Balms

Angel and Insects

Pier 48

Say What

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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August 1998

Stuck in the Riddle

KS risk rises with herpesvirus 8 infection

Traces of human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) have been found in almost all Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) lesions. But which came first, the virus or the cancer? A University of California, San Francisco, study in the New England Journal of Medicine recently revealed that a man who is infected with both HIV and HHV-8 faces a 50 percent chance of developing KS within a decade. Plus, the odds of getting HHV-8 increase with the number of same-sex partners. Said the study’s lead author, Dr. Jeffrey Martin, “If you have HHV-8, you’re more likely to get KS, though we don’t know exactly how HHV-8 causes the KS.”

This study is the first to officially link KS to sex via HHV-8. Of the 800 men, whose first blood samples were taken in 1984, HHV-8 antibodies were found in more than a third of those who had unsafe, same-sex encounters within the previous five years; none were found in the 195 who didn’t. “This doesn’t mean that HHV-8 is only transmitted by homosexual sex,” said senior study author Dr. Dean Kedes. “But it suggests that in the [gay] population, the major mode of transmission is sexual.” Martin is eye-high in research to determine the specific type of sex that spreads HHV-8 in order to target future prevention efforts. “When you find a virus that’s responsible for a cancer, that’s an important opportunity for intervention,” he said.

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