What is the role of drug eruptions in the development of HIV infection?

Updated: Mar 26, 2021
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Drug eruptions have been reported as the most common cause of erythroderma in patients infected with HIV. A study identified 177 cases of Steven-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis from 2000-2010 and found a high proportion of the patients were infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, with a high frequency of antiretroviral drugs as the cause. [50] This elevated incidence of HIV patients with an adverse cutaneous drug eruption, including toxic epidermal necrolysis, may be due to a loss of skin-protective CD4+ CD25+ regulatory T cells. [51]

As many as 65-70% of patients treated with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole for Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia experience morbilliform eruptions within 7 days of starting the therapy. Reddish macules and papules may be generalized and can become permanent after the discontinuation of the therapy.

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