Human herpesvirus 8 seroconversion in a population-based cohort of men in Tobago

Alicia C. Mcdonald, Frank J. Jenkins, Clareann H. Bunker, John W. Wilson, Alan L. Patrick, Joel L. Weissfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) is the causal agent of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). In Tobago, KS is not common; however, HHV-8 seropositivity has been reported to be 39.9% in men with prostate cancer compared to <22.9% in healthier women and men. To understand HHV-8 transmission, we examined HHV-8 seroconversion and seroreversion, and risk factors for these changes in Tobago men. Serum specimens from a sub-cohort of Tobago Prostate Survey men, aged 40-81years (n=381/442), were collected at baseline and a subsequent visit between 3 and 9years and tested for HHV-8 seropositivity using an immunofluorescence assay for antibodies against HHV-8 lytic antigens. Poisson distribution was used to calculate HHV-8 seroconversion and seroreversion rates and their 95% confidence intervals. Differences in baseline characteristics between HHV-seroconverters versus persistent HHV-8 seronegative men and HHV-8 seroreverters versus HHV-8 seropositive men were examined. HHV-8 seropositivity was 12.3% (N=381) at baseline, with HHV-8 seropositivity significantly higher in increasing age groups, 40-49 (4.0%) to 70-81 (37.5%) years (P-value trend <0.0001). HHV-8 seroconversion and seroreversion rates were 0.23 per 100 person-years (95% C.I., 0.06-0.58) and 2.42 per 100 person-years (95% C.I., 0.89-5.26), respectively. There were significantly more HHV-8 seroconverters who reported "ever smoked cigarettes of >6 months" at baseline compared to HHV-8 persistent seronegative men (P-value=0.03). Baseline characteristics of HHV-8 seroreverters did not differ from persistent seropositive men. Low HHV-8 seroconversion and seroreversion rates were found. Data suggest that HHV-8 transmission occurred at earlier ages, <40years, in Tobago men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)642-647
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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