Kaposi’s Sarcoma

Kaposi’s Sarcoma
Kaposi’s sarcoma is a cancer of the walls of the blood vessels or lymphatic system. Kaposi’s Sarcoma is a malignant tumor frequently associated with AIDS. It mainly involves the skin. Human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8) is associated with development of Kaposi’s Sarcoma.
Before the AIDS epidemic, Kaposi’s sarcoma was seen primarily in elderly Italian and Jewish men and developed slowly in these people.In AIDS patients, it can develop aggressively and often involves the skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract and other organs.It is more frequently associated with AIDS in homosexual men than AIDS in IV drug users. The malignancy results in purplish grape-like lesions in the skin, gastrointestinal tract and other organs.Symptoms associated with Kaposi’s Sarcoma in the gastrointestinal lesions is bleeding. With lesions in the lungs it may cause shortness of breath and bloody sputum.The disease usually progresses slowly and can remain stable for years or decades. However, the skin tumors do have a substantial impact on quality of life in these patients, due both to the stigma associated with the visible skin tumors and the pain they can cause.The cancer usually occurs in people with weakened immune systems, such as those with AIDS or patients who are on immune-suppressing drugs following an organ transplant. The disease is rarely fatal and can often be successfully treated with chemotherapy or other therapies.The appearance of Kaposi’s sarcoma is a poor prognostic sign for individuals with AIDS. It was seen very rare in the United States before the AIDS epidemic.Treatment depends on the site and extent of the lesions. Radiation therapy or cryotherapy can be used in selected cases. Lesions can recur after treatment.

Cancer causing Virus can be spread by Kissing

John Pauk, M.D., M.P.H., formerly of the University of Washington in Seattle, and his associates found out that most cases of new infection of human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8), which caused an explosion in the number of Kaposi’s sarcoma cases at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, the virus was most likely transmitted through saliva. This cancer-causing form of herpes disproportionately affects homosexual men.

This study was done on 27 homosexual men. Comparing the sexual history of these patients with those of other homosexual men who were not infected with HHV-8, Pauk found that “deep” kissing (in which saliva is exchanged) with an HIV-positive partner or a partner with Kaposi’s sarcoma and the use of amyl nitrate capsules (“poppers”) or inhaled nitrates (both used to enhance the sexual experience) were associated with an increased risk of infection.

HIV ~ Human Immunodeficiency Virus

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