What is the role of HIV infection in the etiology of pityriasis lichenoides?

Updated: Sep 11, 2020
  • Author: Jeffrey P Callen, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

The first association between Mucha-Habermann disease and HIV infection was reported in 1991 by Ostlere et al. [12] A patient with asymptomatic disease and a CD4+ T-cell count of 208 cells per microliter, diagnosed 6 months previously, presented with lesions consistent clinically and histopathologically with PLEVA. Note the following:

  • In 1997, Smith et al reported a series of 5 patients with HIV infection in the early stage of disease, with CD4+ T-cell counts exceeding 200 cells per microliter and/or absolute lymphocyte counts within normal limits. [13] The authors suggested that PLEVA serves as a marker of early–to–mid stage HIV disease.

  • In 1998, Griffiths reported a patient who presented with a severely pruritic, erythematous, papular eruption that worsened as the CD4+ T-cell count fell from 200 to 20 cells/μ L. [14] Biopsy confirmed PLC, and the disease progressed to febrile ulceronecrotic PLEVA. Dramatic improvement was attained using cyclosporine, and mild PLC-like lesions remained on maintenance doses. On saquinavir and lamivudine, the viral load became undetectable with a concomitant rise in the CD4+ count and a complete resolution of skin lesions. That the inherent immunologic dysregulation of HIV may play a role in Mucha-Habermann disease has been suggested.


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