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What increases my risk for Kaposi sarcoma?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Because there are several different types of Kaposi sarcoma, there are several different factors that may put you at risk for each type. In general, if you are infected with herpesvirus 8, which causes Kaposi sarcoma, you are obviously at a greater risk for the disease. This virus is especially common in certain parts of Africa, so people who live there may be at a greater risk. If you are HIV-positive or have AIDS, you are at a greater risk for epidemic Kaposi sarcoma. Also, behavior that increases your risk for HIV (such as unprotected sex or men having sex with men) may also increase your risk for Kaposi sarcoma. Classic Kaposi sarcoma commonly affects older men of Mediterranean and Eastern European descent, so having those characteristics may also increase your risk. Also, if you have a weakened immune system for any reason-especially due to an organ transplant-you may be at a greater risk for 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.