"HIV", HHV-8 AND KS 20 August 2004
Previous Rapid Response Next Rapid Response Top
Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos,
Department of Medical Physics, Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia, 6001,
Valendar F Turner, John Papadimitriou, Barry Page, David Causer, Helman Alfonso, Sam Mhlongo, Todd Miller, Christian Fiala

Send response to journal:


In his rapid response: "Re: Re: Kaposi's sarcoma and the Perth Group", 17th August, Nicholas Bennett wrote: "It is quite clear to me what Chris Noble meant in his sarcastic comment: The Perth Group make a sweeping statement using the words "HIV plays no role" in KS, which is ludicrous, since KS is several thousand times more common in HIV+ people as I've shown previously….The correlation between poppers and KS is simple: poppers were used often by homosexual men, who spread HHV8 (along with HIV) through sexual contact. It is a good example of a confounding variable. In the same way one can show a correlation between the number of television sets in a household and the risk of getting breast cancer.

KS is found with HHV8 in 100% of samples from all forms of KS, there is really no need to invoke any kind of drug abuse as a causal agent."

Firstly, where is the evidence that KS is "several thousand times more common in HIV+ people"?

Secondly, where is the evidence that HHV-8 is found in 100% of all forms of KS?

Thirdly, and most importantly, why does a correlation (if any exists) between "HIV" or HHV-8 and KS prove that "HIV", HHV-8 or both are causally related to KS but a correlation between exposure to nitrites, semen or both "is a good example of a confounding variable"? Especially when (a) there is no evidence that the "endemic", "sporadic" and "iatrogenic" KS is caused by an infectious agent; (b) there is no evidence that "HIV" or HHV-8 are carcinogenic; (c) there is ample evidence that nitrites (or their metabolites) and semen are carcinogenic.

Nicholas Bennett has not "shown previously" that: (a) "KS is several times more common in HIV+ people"; (b) "HIV+ people" are infected with a retrovirus, "HIV".

Competing interests: None declared