With the advent of AIDS, Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) has become one of the leading malignancies in sub-Saharan Africa. Recently, DNA sequences from a new human herpesvirus called KS-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) or human herpesvirus type 8 have been found in KS tumor lesions in high frequency. Analyses of tumor lesions from 38 Ugandan KS patients indicated a uniform presence of KSHV in KS tumor lesions as revealed by polymerase chain reaction and Southern hybridization. In contrast, only 31% (11/36) of the normal skin biopsies from the same patient population were positive. The frequency of KSHV DNA detection in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of KS patients was also high (84%, 31/37). Similar analyses revealed the presence of cytomegalovirus (21% in KS lesions) to be discordant with KS development. A large number of KS lesions (87%, 33/38) and KS PBMC (70%, 26/37) were, however, positive for Epstein-Barr virus sequences. In addition, KSHV DNA was not found in the PBMC of Ugandans without KS.