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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Jan 27, 2003

I began taking a combination of Combivir, Sustiva and Kaletra about ten days ago (the first HIV meds I have taken) and have developed a rash on my arms, legs, back, stomach and chest (small red painless marks or bumps). Is this a normal side effect or is it something more serious? Thanks.

Response from Dr. Henry

A rash such as you describe can be due to a number of things. It could be a drug rash (Sustiva most likely but one of the other drugs could be involved). If that is the case usually one can treat through the rash. Sometimes a rash is seen as a manifestation of immune reconstitution (a paradoxical worsening of problems after treatment is started). Folliculitis flare-ups are not uncommon in that setting. It is often tough to elucidate the actual cause though usually the rash will abate with time. No side effect should be considered "normal" and they all warrant careful observation. Bottom line= mild rashes are common and usually don't portend anything more serious but your HIV provider should be kept posted as to the evolution of the rash or other symptoms. KH

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