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High Rates of Kaposi's-Associated Virus Likely Spread During
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco analyzed participants from numerous San Francisco based studies including the San Francisco Men's Health Study and the Young Men's Health Study (YMHS).
Avoiding unprotected anal sex will not protect you from acquiring KSHV.
Despite decreasing rates of HIV infection between 1984 and 1985, men continued to get infected with KSHV at consistently high rates, hovering between 25 and 30 percent of the sample populations analyzed.
Kaposis sarcoma (KS) is a rare form of cancer that is strongly associated with AIDS. KSHV was prevalent among gay men prior to the AIDS epidemic.
Of a small random sample taken between 1978 and 1979, prevalence of KSHV infection was 26.5 percent. When another sample was analyzed between 1984/85 the rate was 29.6 percent, and in a 1995/96 there was a 26.4 percent rate of KSHV infection. Meanwhile HIV prevalence dropped from almost 50 percent of a sample of 825 men in 1984/85 to 17.6 percent of 428 men in 1992/93.
During the period between 1984 and 1993 the number of men having unprotected sex with one or more partner decreased significantly from 54 percent to 11 percent. Yet the rates of KSHV continued to mount.
"We think the data strongly suggest that avoiding unprotected anal intercourse is not enough to avoid acquiring this viral infection," the study's lead author, Dr. Dennis H. Osmond, told Reuters Health. People can transmit KSHV during oral sex, and rates of oral sex remained high throughout the study periods.
Findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
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