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Updated January 8, 2011

Case 3: Kaposi's Sarcoma

Authors: Christopher Behrens, MD David H. Spach, MD

A 32-year-old HIV-infected man presents to clinic having noticed reddish-brown nodular lesions on his skin ( Figure 1). His risk factor for acquisition of HIV is having sex with other men, his CD4 count is 230 cells/mm3, and he has never taken antiretroviral agents. A biopsy confirms Kaposi's sarcoma.

Which of the following is TRUE regarding Kaposi's sarcoma?

A In some patients, highly active antiretroviral therapy alone causes significant improvement of Kaposi's sarcoma lesions.
B Human herpes virus type 6 (HHV-6) is the causative agent of Kaposi's sarcoma.
C Although Kaposi's sarcoma can be serious, it is not an AIDS-defining illness.
D For patients with visceral Kaposi's sarcoma, bleomycin (Blenoxane) combined with vincristine (Oncovin) is the treatment of choice.

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    Figure 1. Cutaneous Kaposi's Sarcoma

    Multiple oval, dark red, purple plaques present on chest and arms.

    Figure 1