Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) in oral and genital secretions of women may be involved in horizontal and vertical transmission in endemic regions. Nested polymerse chain reaction assays were used to detect KSHV DNA sequences in one-third of oral, vaginal, and cervical specimens and in 42% of peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) specimens collected from 41 women infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 who had Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). KSHV DNA was not detected in specimens from 100 women without KS, 9 of whom were seropositive for KSHV. A positive association was observed between KSHV DNA detection in oral and genital mucosa, neither of which was associated with KSHV DNA detection in PBMC. These data suggest that KSHV replicates in preferred anatomic sites at levels independent of PBMC viremia. Detection of genital-tract KSHV only among relatively immunosuppressed women may provide an explanation for infrequent perinatal transmission of KSHV.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Grant support: National Institutes of Health training grants T37-TW00049 and NIH AI 07140 and the University of Zimbabwe Research Board.