Prevalence and distribution of HHV-8 in different subpopulations, with and without HIV infection, in Spain

G. Gambús, D. Bourboulia, A. Esteve, R. Lahoz, C. Rodriguez, F. Bolao, G. Sirera, R. Muga, J. Del Romero, C. Boshoff, D. Whitby, J. Casabona

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Objective: To estimate the seroprevalence of HHV-8 in several Spanish subpopulations with different risk levels of acquiring HIV-1 infection and from different geographical regions. Design: Cross-sectional seroprevalence study. Methods: A total of 1699 serum samples from blood donors (613), children under the age of 12 years (100), injecting drug users (IDU) (382), heterosexuals attending a sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic (273) and homosexual men attending a STD clinic or a HIV-based hospital unit (331) were analysed for anti-HHV-8 antibodies. The presence of antibodies against HHV-8 was tested with an indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA). A subsample of HHV-8-positive samples was also tested for antibody titre against HHV-8. Results: The overall seroprevalence of antibodies against HHV-8 for the blood donor population was 6.5% (7.0% in Andalusia, 8.0% in Catalonia and 4.5% in the Basque Country). None of the children tested positive for HHV-8. The HHV-8 prevalence was 86.7% in HIV-positive homosexual men and 28.0% in HIV-negative homosexual men (P< 0.001). Of heterosexual men attending STD clinics, 17.2% tested positive for HHV-8; 11.5% of IDU tested positive for HHV-8. HHV-8 antibody titres by groups parallel the distribution of HHV-8 prevalence. No association between HHV-8 antibody titres and CD4 cell count or HIV viral load was identified. Conclusions: The HHV-8 prevalence among blood donors in Spain is higher than in Northern Europe and the USA, but is similar to that in Northern Italy. The distribution of HHV-8 is compatible with a sexually transmitted agent. The distribution of HHV-8 correlates with that of Kaposi's sarcoma but factors other than HHV-8 seem to explain the Kaposi sarcoma distribution. © 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1167-1174
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2001


  • HHV-8
  • HIV
  • KSHV
  • Kaposi's sarcoma
  • Seroprevalence
  • Spain


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