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Introduction Kaposi's sarcoma is an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-defining illness, and with the size of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) are now being diagnosed more frequently, although the true incidence of HIV-associated KS is not known. The clinical presentations of AIDS-related KS varied markedly across the African continent. This article reports a series of unusual clinical presentations of the tumour in Northeastern Nigeria.
Methods This is a prospective study carried out from September 2003 to August 2005, at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State, Northeastern Nigeria.
Results 20 cases of histologically-confirmed KS were prospectively studied. There were 17 (85 percent) men and three (15 percent) women, giving a male to female ratio of 5.7:1. Their ages ranged from 21-45 (median 37) years. 18 (90 percent) of the patients were anaemic. Mean haematocrit value, CD4+ cell count and duration of symptoms for all the patients were 29.5 +/- 7.5 percent, 119.0 +/- 91.4 cells per microlitre and 3.5 +/-1.7 months, respectively. Multiple lesions were a common presentation affecting sites such as lower limbs, trunk, conjunctiva, upper limbs and rectum as well as penis, lymph node, scrotum and oropharynx.
Conclusion Contrary to other reports that KS is not associated with HIV infection, our study has demonstrated otherwise. This study also showed that both sexes are affected but with a male preponderance. KS is also a late presentation of the HIV/AIDS disease spectrum in our environment and has varied clinical manifestations. There is an urgent need to develop health education programmes to enhance the understanding of this disease and how it spreads, particularly among the young generation.
Keywords: acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, human immunodeficiency virus, Kaposi’s sarcoma
Singapore Med J 2006; 47(12): 1069-1074