Which hair and nail disorders are associated with HIV disease?

Updated: Mar 26, 2021
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Diffuse alopecia or alopecia areata may be associated with HIV disease and may be inflammatory and permanent. The apoptotic follicular stem cell population in higher proportion may represent a hair cycle disturbance in patients with diffuse alopecia related to HIV-1 infection. [48]

Beau lines, telogen effluvium, and pallor of the nail beds are the general effects of the chronic illness. Elongation of the eyelashes and softening and straightening of the scalp hair may be observed in HIV disease, and proximal subungual onychomycosis is also usually a sign of HIV disease. The frequency of onychomycosis may be higher in men than in women.

Generalized alopecia can occur in patients with HIV who are treated with indinavir, an antiretroviral protease inhibitor. [49] Zidovudine is associated with longitudinal, transverse, or diffuse melanin pigmentation of the nails; however, nail pigmentation has also been observed in patients with HIV who have never taken zidovudine.

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