Virology, Nebraska Center for


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Published in MEDICINA (Buenos Aires) 2001; 61: 291-294


Human Herpes virus type-8 (HHV-8) seroprevalence was studied in a population of HIV positive intravenous drug users (IVDUs) from Argentina. Analysis of this population also indirectly made it possible to study HHV-8 blood transmission, because these individuals frequently engage in needle sharing behavior and are capable of acquiring a broad array of blood borne pathogens, including Hepatitis B/C virus. The seroprevalence of HHV-8 in IVDUs was compared to a group of non-IVDUs and HIV negative individuals. Of the 223 individuals tested, 13.45% were HHV-8 positive, 16.99% in the IVDUs group, and 5.71% in the non-IVDUs. Among HIV positive IVDUs, 25/144 (17.36%) were also HHV-8 seropositive. The seropositivity rate of HHV-8 in HIV negative IVDUs was 11.1%. In contrast, HHV-8 seroprevalence in HIV negative heterosexual individuals without drug usage behavior was even lower (5.71%). The rate of HHV-8 infection in HIV positive IVDUs was three times as high compared to the non IVDU HIV negative individuals, suggesting that IVDU is a risk for HHV-8 infection. Furthermore, it was found that IVDUs showed a very high rate of Hepatitis B/C (52.77%), which also correlate with HHV-8 infection in this population (23.68%). All Hepatitis B/C positive individuals were also HIV positive. Our data confirm other studies showing that individuals who share needles are at risk for acquiring Hepatitis B/C and HIV infections. In addition, our results suggest that they are also at risk to acquiring HHV-8 infection by the same route.

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