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Does Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus always lead to Kaposi sarcoma?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Kaposi sarcoma is caused by the Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus, or herpesvirus 8. However, just because a person has that virus doesn't mean they'll actually develop Kaposi sarcoma. In fact, certain studies claim that anywhere from 5% to 25% of the U.S. population have the Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus, but only about 6 in every one million people actually develop Kaposi sarcoma each year. Usually, people are infected with the virus and then when something happens to compromise their immune systems (for instance, being infected with HIV or getting an organ transplant), they actually develop Kaposi sarcoma.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.