Doctors in San
Francisco have reported an outbreak among long-term AIDS
patients of Kaposi's sarcoma, the viral skin disease whose
purple lesions were a telltale sign of advancing
disease before drugs were developed to treat the
The 15 patients
under treatment are all doing well on antiretroviral
therapy, and none is in danger, Toby Maurer, chief of
dermatology at San Francisco General Hospital, told
San Francisco Chronicle.
Kaposi's of the 1980s, the condition does not appear to
spread to internal organs or to be a harbinger of
declining health, Maurer said.
condition's recurrence is puzzling. Doctors think some other
virus or latent infection may trigger HHV-8, the herpes
virus that causes Kaposi's, in otherwise stable
originally seen almost exclusively in older Mediterranean
men; the new outbreaks appear to be much like the earlier,
more benign form of the disease.
"This is nothing
like what we saw 25 years ago," dermatologist Marcus
Conant, who discovered the first clusters of Kaposi's
patients at that time, told the
In addition to
systemic AIDS drugs, the new patients have been treated
topically with liquid nitrogen or injections of chemotherapy
drugs to remove the lesions, the newspaper said.
treatment for KS among HIV patients is to treat the virus
and boost the immune system," Maurer told the
"But in these patients, their immune
system is already boosted."
the cases in a letter published September 27 in
New England Journal of Medicine.
average age is 51; they have been HIV-positive for 18
years, on average, and have been on antiretrovirals for
seven. They were diagnosed with Kaposi's between
November 2004 and January 2006. (Barbara Wilcox,
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