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The association between the prevalence of antibodies against Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV or human herpesvirus 8 [HHV-8]) and sociodemographic, sexual, reproductive and lifestyle factors was investigated in a study of adults presenting with cancer at hospitals in Kampala, Uganda. Patients were interviewed and tested for antibodies against KSHV (using an indirect immunofluorescent assay). Data are presented for 607 patients who were not infected with the human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV) and who did not have Kaposi's sarcoma (these included people with cancers of the uterine cervix [140], breast [58], liver [41], oesophagus [36], lymphoma [47], other cancers [285] and benign tumours [63]). The prevalence of anti-KSHV antibodies was 50% overall (302/607) and did not differ significantly by cancer site (p = 0.4) or sex (p = 0.2), but increased linearly with age from 35% in those under 25 years to 55% in those 45 years and over (chi(2) trend [1 df] = 9.1; p < 0.001). After adjusting for age and sex, anti-KSHV antibodies were more common in tribal groups other than the Baganda tribe (54% vs. 45% among Baganda; p = 0.02), but there was no significant (p > 0.05) variation in seroprevalence by district of birth, region of residence prior to becoming ill or various measures of wealth. The prevalence of anti-KSHV antibodies decreased with increasing number of older siblings, although this may be due to chance (p = 0.05) and was higher among people who had ever been married (p = 0.03). There was no significant association (p > 0.05) between the presence of antibodies against KSHV and other sexual and reproductive factors. Among the 302 patients with anti-KSHV antibodies, the proportion with high titres increased linearly with increasing age (p = 0.03) and was higher among those reporting having had a blood transfusion (p = 0.03). In conclusion, in this population in Uganda, where KSHV is relatively common, the prevalence of anti-KSHV antibodies increased with age but showed little association with nearly 50 other factors studied.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Cancer

Publication Date





226 - 232


Adult, Age Distribution, Antibodies, Viral, Female, Herpesvirus 8, Human, Humans, Life Style, Male, Middle Aged, Prevalence, Rural Health, Sarcoma, Kaposi, Seroepidemiologic Studies, Sexual Behavior, Socioeconomic Factors, Uganda