Kaposi Sarcoma

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What Is Kaposi Sarcoma? TOPICS

What are the key statistics about Kaposi sarcoma?

Before the AIDS epidemic, Kaposi sarcoma (KS) was rare in the United States. At that time, only about 2 new cases of KS were found for every million people in the United States each year. Most often, the types of KS that occurred were classic and transplant-related.

With the AIDS epidemic, the rate of KS in this country increased more than 20 times — peaking at about 47 cases per million people (per year) in the early 1990s. Early in the AIDS epidemic, patients infected with HIV in the United States were estimated to have a 1 in 2 chance of developing KS.

With new treatments for AIDS, KS has become less common in the United States, and it now occurs at a rate of about 6 cases per million people each year. It is still seen most often in people infected with HIV. In the United States, KS is much more common in men than in women, and it is rarely seen in children. It is also more common in African Americans than in whites in the United States. Transplant recipients are another group that gets KS. About 1 in 200 transplant patients in the United States gets KS. Most of these people were already infected with Kaposi sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV) before the transplant, but the virus didn’t cause problems because their immune system kept it in check. The drugs these people take to suppress their immune system allow KS to develop.

In areas of the world (such as Africa) where KSHV and HIV infection rates are high, both endemic and HIV-associated KS are seen, and KS occurs in men, women, and children.

Last Medical Review: 08/08/2014
Last Revised: 02/09/2016