OBJECTIVE To ascertain the prevalence of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), also known as human herpesvirus (HHV) type 8, and cytomegalovirus (CMV) DNA in semen was investigated. METHODS Amplification by nested polymerase chain reaction was used to detect viral DNA sequences in samples from 24 HIV-infected gay men, 15 of them with Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), and 115 healthy donors. RESULTS Six of the 24 HIV-infected patients had detectable HHV-8 DNA in their semen: three of the 15 patients with KS and three of the nine patients without KS. CMV DNA was detected in 20 semen samples from HIV-infected patients. None of the semen samples from healthy donors had detectable HHV-8 DNA and rates of CMV DNA detection were low (3%). CONCLUSIONS The study demonstrates the presence of HHV-8 in semen from HIV-infected individuals with, or at risk, of developing KS and the potential for sexual transmission of the virus. We found no evidence of HHV-8 in the semen of HIV-uninfected donors.