The aim of the present study was to estimate the prevalence of Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) in the female general population, to define geographic variation in and heterosexual transmission of the virus.
The study included 10,963 women from 9 countries for whom information on sociodemographic characteristics and reproductive, sexual, and smoking behaviors were available. Antibodies against KSHV that encoded lytic antigen K8.1 and latent antigen ORF73 were determined.
The range of prevalence of KSHV (defined as detection of any antigen) was 3.81%-46.02%, with significant geographic variation noted. In Nigeria, the prevalence was 46.02%; in Colombia, 13.32%; in Costa Rica, 9.81%; in Argentina, 6.40%; in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 15.50%; in Hanoi, Vietnam, 11.26%; in Songkla, Thailand, 10%; in Lampang, Thailand, 8.63%; in Korea, 4.93%; and in Spain, 3.65%. The prevalence of KSHV slightly increased with increasing age among subjects in geographic areas where the prevalence of KSHV was high, such as Nigeria and Colombia, and it significantly decreased with increases in the educational level attained by subjects in those areas. KSHV was not statistically associated with age at first sexual intercourse, number of sex partners, number of children, patterns of oral contraceptive use, presence of cervical human papillomavirus DNA, or smoking status.
The study provides comparable estimates of KSHV prevalence in diverse cultural settings across 4 continents and provides evidence that sexual transmission of KSHV is not a major source of infection in the general population.