Prednisone HIV and Kaposi's sarcoma

KS_image_crop-150x150"In this country (USA) at 1996, when we saw the antiretroviral drugs come up, we thought SK [Kaposi's sarcoma] was gone. And we thought it was the end of SK. Well, not so fast, "said Toby Maurer, MD, professor of clinical dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco and a senior physician at the HIV clinic at San Francisco General Hospital.

Kaposi's sarcoma - so common during the height of the epidemic, people living with HIV and AIDS E is best known as the prototype of the AIDS-defining disease. It is caused by the human herpes virus 8 (HHV-8) and usually results in skin lesions with a distinct dark coloration on the skin or inside the mouth, in the respiratory or gastrointestinal tract.

Maurer points out that corticosteroids, such as prednisone, can trigger the onset of skin lesions (SK) in people who are infected with HHV-8 but have never had KS symptoms before. "I can not tell you how many times a week I see SK being linked to prednisone. And not only am I seeing this in the HIV-infected group, but the HIV-negative gays in San Francisco have also presented these lesions. I probably see three to four people a month who are developing steroid-activated SK. "

Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) skin lesions (Photo: National Cancer Institute)
Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) skin lesions (Photo: National Cancer Institute)

Many people - both those with and without HIV, infected with the herpes virus that is responsible for SK. It is not entirely clear how HHV-8 is transmitted, but it is likely that HHV-8 is transmitted orally and / or sexually. It is estimated that Between 30 60% and% of HIV-positive patients and 20 30% or% of HIV-negative patients men who have sex with men are infected with HHV8.

Issuing a warning, Maurer urged other HIV providers to think twice before prescribing steroid medication. "I'm no longer a fan of the use of prednisone for our patients. Obviously, there are times when you have the need to use prednisone. But if you do not need prednisone, think about it a hundred times. "

Translated by Original Claudio Souza in Prednisone can "turn on" Kaposi's sarcoma in people with HIV By Emily Newman

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