Background: The presence of Human Herpesvirus-8 (HHV8) DNA is predictive of Kaposi sarcoma (KS) among patients with HIV-associated or iatrogenic immunosuppression. However, correlates of HHV8-DNA detection in the general population remain undefined. Methods: We assessed correlates of HHV8-DNA detection among Italian adults without KS who had antibodies against HHV8-latent nuclear antigen by immunofluorescence assay. HHV8-K6 DNA sequences were detected in peripheral blood mononuclear cells using TaqMan CR. Results: Of the 158 subjects 26 (16.5%) had detectable HHV8-DNA [median copies/million cells, 53; (13-2128)]. Adjusted for age, sex, and laboratory, HHV8-DNA was detected more frequently in participants with >7 total residents in the childhood home [OR = 3.7 (1.5-9.1)], >2 younger siblings [OR = 2.6 (1.1-6.5)], and current cardiovascular [OR = 3.6 (1.3-9.7)] or renal [OR = 3.1 (1.2-8.0)] disease. Excluding the participants using immune modulating drugs, HHV8-DNA was more frequent among those with low red blood cells (RBC) [<4.5 106/ μl; OR = 5.3 (1.7-16.2)], slightly elevated mean corpuscular volume [>92 μm3/red cell; OR = 2.8 (1.0-7.8)], and mild thrombocytopenia [<151 K/μl; OR = 5.6 1.9-16.3)]. Conclusions: Presence of HHV8-DNA in elderly Italians is associated with childhood crowding, low RBCs, and platelets, perhaps indicating roles for early infection and chronic inflammation. These risk factors are the first to be reported for non-immunosuppressed HHV8-seropositive adults. © The Author 2005; all rights reserved.