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Kaposi Sarcoma Treatment (PDQ®)

Patient Version

Epidemic Kaposi Sarcoma

Epidemic Kaposi sarcoma is found in patients who have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Epidemic Kaposi sarcoma occurs in patients who have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which attacks and weakens the immune system. When the body's immune system is weakened by HIV, infections and cancers such as Kaposi sarcoma can develop.

Most cases of epidemic Kaposi sarcoma in the United States have been diagnosed in homosexual or bisexual men infected with HIV.

Signs of epidemic Kaposi sarcoma can include lesions that form in many parts of the body.

The signs of epidemic Kaposi sarcoma can include lesions in different parts of the body, including any of the following:

Kaposi sarcoma is sometimes found in the lining of the mouth during a regular dental check-up.

In most patients with epidemic Kaposi sarcoma, the disease will spread to other parts of the body over time. Fever, weight loss, or diarrhea can occur. In the later stages of epidemic Kaposi sarcoma, life-threatening infections are common.

The use of drug therapy called HAART reduces the risk of epidemic Kaposi sarcoma in patients infected with HIV.

HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) is a combination of several drugs that block HIV and slow down the development of AIDS and AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma. For information about AIDS and its treatment, see the AIDSinfo Web site.

  • Updated: October 15, 2014