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What Is Kaposi Sarcoma?

Learn about Kaposi sarcoma from board-certified dermatologist Ahmet Altiner in this Howcast video.


Kaposi sarcoma used to be unheard of in the United States prior to the 1980's, but with the emergence of HIV and AIDS, it has become much more commonly seen. Kaposi sarcoma is overgrowth of blood vessels underneath the skin, in a disorganized and carcinogenic way. It is oftentimes related to a type of herpes virus infection, specifically HHV-8.

Kaposi sarcoma is essentially unseen in anybody who does not have HIV or AIDS. The diagnosis is based on a biopsy. Oftentimes, clinically it presents as purple or red bumps on the face, on the shoulders and on the arms. They don't itch or bleed. Anyone showing signs and symptoms of Kaposi sarcoma, such as purple or red bumps on the face, shoulders and arms should get a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and if it is Kaposi sarcoma, they should be referred for an HIV test.

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