What are the cutaneous manifestations of HIV disease?

Updated: Apr 19, 2019
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Cutaneous manifestations of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease may result from HIV infection itself or from opportunistic disorders secondary to the decline in immunocompetence from the disease. [1] Cutaneous disorders may be the initial signs of HIV-related immunosuppression. Recognizing HIV-related skin changes may lead to the diagnosis of HIV infection in the early stages, allowing initiation of appropriate antiretroviral therapy. Many associated skin diseases are more severe in this group. With the use of antiretroviral therapy, the incidence of some of these skin disorders has declined, but the incidence of drug reactions and other noninfectious skin eruptions has been enhanced. [2]

A variety of neoplastic, infectious, and noninfectious diseases can produce cutaneous manifestations throughout the course of HIV disease. These manifestations may occur more frequently than in persons without HIV infection and may be less responsive to usual treatment modalities.

For other discussions of HIV infection, see HIV Disease, Pediatric HIV Infection, and Antiretroviral Therapy for HIV Infection.

For patient education information, see the Immune System Center, Sexually Transmitted Diseases Center, Teeth and Mouth Center, and Yeast and Fungal Infections Center, as well as HIV/AIDS, Canker Sores, Candidiasis (Yeast Infection), and Syphilis.

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