Rohner E, Valeri F, Maskew M, Prozesky H, Rabie H, Garone D, Dickinson D, Chimbetete C, Lumano-Mulenga P, Sikazwe I, Wyss N, Clough-Gorr KM,Egger M, Chi BH, Bohlius J.
The risk of Kaposi sarcoma (KS) among HIV-infected persons on antiretroviral therapy (ART) is not well defined in resource-limited settings. We studied KS incidence rates and associated risk factors in children and adults on ART in Southern Africa.
We included patient data of 6 ART programs in Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. We estimated KS incidence rates in patients on ART measuring time from 30 days after ART initiation to KS diagnosis, last follow-up visit, or death. We assessed risk factors (age, sex, calendar year, WHO stage, tuberculosis, and CD4 counts) using Cox models.
We analyzed data from 173,245 patients (61% female, 8% children aged <16 years) who started ART between 2004 and 2010. Five hundred and sixty-four incident cases were diagnosed during 343,927 person-years (pys). The overall KS incidence rate was 164/100,000 pys [95% confidence interval (CI): 151 to 178]. The incidence rate was highest 30-90 days after ART initiation (413/100,000 pys; 95% CI: 342 to 497) and declined thereafter [86/100,000 pys (95% CI: 71 to 105), >2 years after ART initiation]. Male sex [adjusted hazard ratio (HR): 1.34; 95% CI: 1.12 to 1.61], low current CD4 counts (≥500 versus <50 cells/μL, adjusted HR: 0.36; 95% CI: 0.23 to 0.55), and age (5-9 years versus 30-39 years, adjusted HR: 0.20; 95% CI: 0.05 to 0.79) were relevant risk factors for developing KS.
Despite ART, KS risk in HIV-infected persons in Southern Africa remains high. Early HIV testing and maintaining high CD4 counts is needed to further reduce KS-related morbidity and mortality.