Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) is a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that presents with serosal effusion in body cavities, without obvious tumor masses. Although PEL occurs in immunocompromised patients that are human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive, it also occurs in immunocompetent human herpes virus-8 (HHV-8)-positive patients. Herein we present an immunocompetent, HIV-negative, CD-20-negative, HHV-8-positive patient with pleural effusion that was diagnosed as PEL. The CHOP protocol and talc pleurodesis were administered. HHV-8 plays a causative role in PEL and is important for differentiating PEL from other types of lymphoma. As such, in addition to pleurodesis antiviral treatment should be considered for optimal treatment outcome.