Human herpes virus 8 DNA in blood as a marker of Kaposi’s Sarcoma in HIV positive Ugandan patients.
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Introduction; Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS) is an abnormal excessive growth of blood vessels associated with human herpes virus 8 (HHV-8), as the causative agent. In HIV infected individuals, HHV-8 is the major cause of AIDS-related malignancies. Uganda has one of the highest rates of KS worldwide, with a third of the diseased succumbing to death. Attributed to its high prevalence is the lack of an effective diagnostic marker during its early stages and latency, as the existing ones have limitations of high discordance rates, low specificity, cross-reactivity among others. This has caused a delay in KS detection and treatment leading to a more aggressive disease increasing morbidity and mortality. This study, therefore, set out to determine the reliability of blood HHV-8 DNA among HIV patients as a diagnostic marker and factors that could affect its use. Methodology; This was a cross-sectional study that obtained 54 stored whole blood samples of HIV infected patients, 27 of them had a clinical manifestation of KS confirmed by histopathology, while 27 had no clinical manifestation of KS and no confirmed diagnosis. DNA was extracted from all blood samples and its quality was assessed. A nested PCR was done targeting the HHV-8 DNA ORF 26 region. The resulting amplicons were electrophoresed on a 1.2% gel, then visualized under UV light. Fisher’s exact and Mann-Whitney U-Test were used for the analysis. Results; HHV 8 DNA was detected in the blood of 55.56% of the participants with clinical KS manifestation and in 11.1% of the participants with no clinical manifestation of KS. Factors that increased HHV-8 DNA detection included; shorter durations of KS infection and ART. HIV infection duration and duration on chemotherapy had no effect on HHV-8 DNA detection. Conclusion; The results suggest that HHV-8 DNA in the blood may be a potential diagnostic marker for the diagnosis of KS. The results also showed that there could be latently infected individuals or HIV patients with subclinical KS calling for screening and prophylaxis of HIV patients