HIV patients have a weakened immune system and more likely to get certain cancers such as Kaposi’s sarcoma.
Kaposi’s Sarcoma and HIV
Kaposi’s sarcoma is caused by a virus called the human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), which is also known as the Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). This virus usually spreads during sex, through blood or saliva, or even from a mother to her child.
We submit a unique case of Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS) in a 51-year-old male patient presented with a painful swelling over the right side of the upper jaw for more than six months. Since the patient was HIV POSITIVE and the current COVID-19 pandemic, he was denied treatment in and around Vellore, a city in the state of Tamil Nadu, in southern India. The patient was referred to Dr. A. Mathan Mohan for a specialist consultation.
On physical examination, a firm mass present on the left side upper jaw was tender to palpation. Radiological imaging (Contrast CT), serology tests and tissue biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of KS. Surgery was indicated due to the rapid progression of the disease.
Patient treatment can be delayed but cannot be denied:
“Due to the risk of transmission of HIV, to the operating team, surgery for AIDS-associated Kaposi sarcoma in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, is extremely rare and I want to commend the entire team for putting service before self” – Dr. A. Mathan Mohan
Proper safety protocols for both HIV and COVID were followed and the patient was successfully operated by Dr. A. Mathan Mohan. The surgery resulted in complete removal of mass in toto.
Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) is considered an AIDS defining illness which means that when KS occurs in someone infected with HIV, that person officially has AIDS (and is not just HIV-positive).
Evolution of Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is unpredictable and unlike other forms of Kaposi sarcoma, KSHV tends to have an aggressive clinical course. As in this case, large tumour involvement may interfere with both speech and mastication and surgery is indicated.