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Skin problems: HIV or stress?
Dec 4, 2004

Hi... I've been HIV+ since 7/01. Not taking meds. Doing well, but... weird succession of dermatological problems lately, including pityriasis rosea, folliculitis, blotches. Could these be HIV-related, or maybe just stress, since there's a ton of that? Many thanks!

Response from Dr. Conway

It could be both or either, really. In HIV infection, there is an increased risk of minor fungal, bacterial and viral infections of the skin, which may be more common as the CD4 count goes down. If the count is < 100, there is a specific condition called eosinophilic folliculitis. Patients develop very itchy red bumps around the hair follicles on their neck, upper trunk and arms.

Of course, people without HIV can develop most of these conditions from time to time, due to stress, exposure to the right pathogen or other things. However, in HIV, their occurence (especially if it is more frequent) may be an indication that your immune system is weakening and that you need to start thinking about treatment.



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