Characteristics of HIV-1-associated Kaposi's sarcoma among women and men in South Africa

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Despite the increase of HIV-1-associated Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), little is known about HIV-associated KS in the African setting, particularly among women. A descriptive study of the demographic, clinical, immunological and virological features of AIDS-associated KS from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa was undertaken. Consecutively, recruited patients were clinically staged; CD4/CD8 cell counts, HIV-1 viral loads and clinical parameters were evaluated. Of the 152 patients (77 male and 75 female) 99% were black. Females were significantly younger (P = 0.02) and had poorer disease prognosis (odds ratio [OR] = 2.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.4-5.4, P = 0.003) and were more likely to have extensive cutaneous KS when compared with males (OR = 3.1, 95% CI = 1.4-6.7, P = 0.003). One-third of patients had coexisting HIV-related disease, most commonly tuberculosis, and these were more frequent in females (56.7 vs. 43.3%). In conclusion, HIV-associated KS in South Africans has an equal female-to-male ratio. Females are younger and have more severe disease than males.

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